Lady Darling | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Lady Darling

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The 895-ton iron steamer Lady Darling sank in thirty metres of water off Mystery Bay on 10 November 1880.  While on a voyage from Newcastle to Melbourne with a cargo of coal, the collier struck rocks about four miles south of Montague Island. Attempts were made to reach the shore but the Lady Darling filled rapidly and the Captain and crew were forced to abandon ship. All made the safety of the Island. The steamer's three masts were visible above the water for several days until the vessel settled further. In April 1996, local divers re-located the wreck site lying upright on sand. Built at Liverpool, United Kingdom in 1864, the Lady Darling had a length of 73 metres. Depth of site is 30m. Diving at the site requires the prior approval of a permit under Section 15 of the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 to enter the 706-metre radius Protected Zone gazetted over the site (Section 7 of the Act). Contact the NSW Heritage Office for Permit conditions Ph: (02) 9873 8500.

photo: Lady Darling plaques on the Narooma coastal walk. Photograph by David Nutley
Lady Darling plaques on the Narooma coastal walk. Photograph by David Nutley
photo: View of stern to engine room. Photograph by Andrew Green
View of stern to engine room. Photograph by Andrew Green


Site information

Site ID: 1117
Type: Steamer screw Construction: Iron
Primary industry: Transport Sub-industry: cargo - coastal
Gross tonnage: 895 Net tonnage: 722
Length (mtrs): 73.03 Beam (mtrs): 8.564
Draft (mtrs): 4.998 Cargo: Coal
Engine: Simple inverted
Country built: UNITED KINGDOM State built:
Port built: Liverpool builder:
Port registered: Liverpool When built: 1864
Registration number: 1/1875 Official number: 50499
Sources: Sydney Mail 13/11/1880 SMH 23/2, 8/3, 8/4, 21/4, 5/5, 29/11/1880 Sydney Daily Telegraph 16/10, 28/10, 2/11, 6/11, 8/11, 9/11, 12/11, 16/11, 17/11/1880 Sydney Mail 13/11, 20/11/1880 Melbourne Age 12/11, 22/11/1880 Melbourne Argus 24/11/1880
Comments: The site lies in about 30 metres of water.

Lost event

When lost: 1880/11/ Where lost: Montague Island, ~ 4 miles SW of, in 15 fathoms
Wrecked/Refloated: Wrecked Sinking: Gale, struck sub. reef
From port: Newcastle To port: Melbourne
Master: Owner:
Crew: 26 Passengers:
Crew deaths: 0 Passenger deaths:
Total deaths: 0


Maximum latitude: -36.3170833333333333 Minimum latitude:
Maximum longitude: 150.1698333333333333 Minimum longitude:
Datum used: WGS84
  Datum    Latitude    Longitude    Zone    Easting    Northing
AGD66 -36.31708848296210 150.16983333333300 56 245916.81124884500000 5977148.57861573000000
AGD84 -36.31708848296210 150.16983333333300 56 245916.81124884500000 5977148.57861573000000
GDA94 -36.31708337059280 150.16983333333300 56 245917.71811340400000 5977163.11865830000000
WGS84 -36.31708336969210 150.16983333333300 56 245917.71811194200000 5977163.11865017000000


Found: Yes Inspected: Yes
Protected: Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 Jurisdiction: Federal
Protection notes:
Signage: Plaque on Narooma Coastal Walk Trail - Eurobodella Shire Council. Web address: