Historical information

This restored porthole frame was recovered from the wreck of the Falls of Halladale at Peterborough Victoria.

The Falls of Halladale-
The ship was an iron-hulled, four-masted barque, used as a bulk carrier of general cargo. She left New York in August 1908 bound for Melbourne and Sydney. In her hold was general cargo consisting of roofing tiles, barbed wire, stoves, oil, benzene, and many other manufactured items.

After three months at sea and close to her destination, a navigational error caused the Falls of Halladale to be wrecked on a reef off the Peterborough headland on the 15th of November, 1908. The captain and 29 crew members survived, but her cargo was largely lost, despite two salvage attempts in 1908-09 and 1910. The Court of Marine Inquiry in Melbourne ruled that the foundering of the ship was entirely due to Captain David Wood Thomson's navigational error, not too technical failure of the Clyde-built ship.

The Falls of Halladale was built in1886 by Russell & Co., at Greenock shipyards on the River Clyde, Scotland for Wright, Breakenridge & Co of Glasgow. She was one of several designs of the Falls Line of ships named after waterfalls in Scotland. The company was founded between 1870- 1873 as a partnership between Joseph Russell, Anderson Rodger, and William Todd Lithgow. During 1882-92 Russell & Co. standardised designs sped up their building process so much that they could build 271 ships during that time.

The Falls of Halladale had a sturdy construction built to carry maximum cargo and was able to maintain full sail in heavy gales, one of the last of the 'windjammers' that sailed the Trade Route. She and her sister ship, the Falls of Garry, were the first ships in the world to include fore and aft lifting bridges. Previously, heavily loaded vessels could have heavy seas break along the full length of the deck, causing serious injury or even death to those on deck. The new, raised catwalk-type decking allowed the crew to move above the deck in stormy conditions.


This artefact is important as it is an example of the materials and design of late-19th century ship’s rigging equipment.
The object is also significant for its association with the historic sailing ship Falls of Halladale, wrecked in local waters in the early 20th century.
The clipper ship Falls of Halladale shipwreck is of historical significance and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, No. S255. She was one of the last ships to sail the Trade Routes. She was one of the first vessels to have fore and aft lifting bridges.
The vessel is an example of an International Cargo Ship's remains and represents aspects of Victoria’s shipping industry.

Physical description

Porthole frame; cast brass circular frame with several fixing holes, and hinged frame for holding the glass window. The frame has two screw dogs and a solid hinge. The porthole frame has been recondition and the layer of concretion has been removed. The porthole frame was recovered from the wrecked FALLS OF HALLADALE.