Historical information

Amongst the items of cargo recovered from the wreck of the Schomberg were riding spurs. This spur has been restored to show the type of finish the Spurs would have had when they were new.


When the ship Schomberg was launched in 1855, she was considered the most perfect clipper ship ever to be built. James Blaine’s Black Ball Line had commissioned her to be built for their fleet of passenger liners. The Aberdeen builders designed her to sail faster than the quick clippers designed by North American Donald McKay. She was a three-masted wooden clipper ship, built with diagonal planking of British oat with layers of Scottish larch.

Schomberg departed Liverpool for Melbourne on 6 October 1855 under her master Captain ‘Bully’ Forbes, 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.

Schomberg’s journey was slower than the predicted 60 days. She was 78 days out of Liverpool when she ran aground on an uncharted sand spit near Peterborough, Victoria, on 27 December. Overnight, the crew launched a lifeboat to find a safe place to land the ship’s passengers. The scouting party returned to Schomberg and advised Forbes that it was best to wait until morning because the rough seas could easily overturn the small lifeboats.

The ship’s Chief Officer spotted SS Queen at dawn and signalled the steamer. The master of the SS Queen approached the stranded vessel and all of Schomberg’s passengers were able to disembark safely.

The Black Ball Line’s Melbourne agent sent a steamer to retrieve the passengers’ baggage from the Schomberg. Other steamers helped unload her cargo until the weather changed and prevented the salvage teams from accessing the ship. Local merchants Manifold & Bostock bought the wreck and cargo but did not attempt to salvage the cargo still on board the ship. They eventually sold it on to a Melbourne businessman and two seafarers. After two of the men drowned when they tried to reach Schomberg, salvage efforts were abandoned.


This spur 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

Spur; wish-bone shaped metal with a knob on one end, a drilled hole on the other and a hook shaped extension in the centre that has a hole through it. The edges are smooth and rounded. It was recovered from the wreck of the Schomberg and has since been reconditioned.