Historical information

The brass tap was recovered from the wreck of the Schomberg sailing ship. It is severed at the pipe end before the position where the join would have been. This could have happened after the shipwreck or at the time of salvage.

ABOUT THE SCHOMBERG (October 6 to December 27, 1855)-
When the ship Schomberg was launched in 1855, she was considered the most perfect clipper ship ever to be built. James Baine’s Black Ball Line had commissioned her for their fleet of passenger liners. The Aberdeen builders designed her to sail faster than the clippers designed the three-masted wooden clipper ship to be fast. The timber used for the diagonal planking was British oak with layers of Scottish larch. This luxury emigrant vessel was designed for superior comfort. She had ventilation ducts to provide air to the lower decks and a dining saloon, smoking room, library and bathrooms for the first-class passengers.

The master for Schomberg’s maiden voyage was Captain ‘Bully’ Forbes. He drunkenly predicted at her launch that he would make the journey between Liverpool and Melbourne in 60 days. Schomberg departed Liverpool on 6 October 1855 with 430 passengers and 3000 tons of cargo including iron rails and equipment intended the build the Geelong Railway and a bridge over the Yarra from Melbourne to Hawthorn.

The poor winds slowed Schomberg’s sail across the equator. She was 78 days out of Liverpool when she ran aground on a sand spit near Peterborough, Victoria, on 27 December; the sand spit and currents were not marked on Forbes’s map. The ship’s Chief Officer spotted the coastal steamer SS Queen at dawn and sent a signal. The master of the SS Queen approached the stranded vessel and all of Schomberg’s passengers safely disembarked.

In 1975, 120 years after the Schomberg was wrecked, divers from Flagstaff Hill found an ornate communion set at the wreck site along with many other artefacts. In 1978 a diamond ring was discovered under the concretion in the lid of the communion set, which is currently on display. Former Director of Flagstaff Hill, Peter Ronald, had salvaged most of the artefacts from the wreck.


This tap is significant as an example of an item in common use in the mid-19th century.
The Schomberg collection as a whole is of historical and archaeological significance at a State level. Flagstaff Hill’s collection of artefacts from the Schomberg is also significant for its association with the Victorian Heritage Registered shipwreck (VHR S 612).

The collection is of prime significance because of the relationship between the objects salvaged, as together they help us to interpret the story of the Schomberg. The collection as a whole is historically significant for representing aspects of Victoria's maritime history and its potential to interpret social and historical themes.

Physical description

Brass tap, flat horizontal handle, horn-shaped finish above the spout. The fixture has been severed at the pipe connection end. The surface has since been polished. There is a hole in the side of the pipe near the vertical fitting. It was recovered from the wreck of the Schomberg.