Heritage VIC




Twelve miles SW Cleft Island, Wilsons Promontory

VHR Number


Date lost


Year of construction


Official number


Statement of Significance

The Kanowna was one of the first large steamers to appear in Australia after Federation and allowed the AUSNCo to properly compete with large overseas companies such as P&O. It played a distinguished role in Australia's war effort in World War I and illustrates aspects of the growth and decline of coastal shipping of Australia in the early 20th century. It is archaeologically significant as it sank with all cargo and is likely to be intact.

Physical Description  
Hull Details 3 decks, rigged as fore and aft schooner, elliptical stern, clincher built. First Class accommodated on Upper and Shelter Decks. Second Class in 6 and 8 berth cabins on Upper Deck aft. Main Deck fitted to carry cattle. Part of the cargo spaces were refr
Propulsion Steam - Screw
Engine Specification Denny & Co. Engine No. 533
Engine Builder Quadruple expansion steam engine 2 x 23", 2 x 37.5" and 4 x 31" cylinders x 48" stroke. 375 NHP. 4 single faced boilers, 180lbs, 16 ridged furnaces, 300 square feet grate, 1185 square feet heating, refrigeration machinery. Howdens three bladed propell
Number of Masts 2
Length / Breadth / Depth 415.6 Feet / 52.2 Feet / 28.6 Feet
Builder W. Denny and Brothers
Built Date 1903
Built Port / Country Dumbarton / Scotland
Registration Number 5 of 1921
Registration Port / Country Adelaide / Australia
Former Details of Registration No. 4/1903; No. 6/1903
The large interstate passenger liner SS Kanowna was built in 1903 for the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company. It had a varied career running between Australian and Asian ports, and also served as a troopship and hospital ship during World War I. The Kanowna was lost in 1929 when it ran ashore off Wilsons Promontory in foggy conditions. All on board reached safety, but the vessel was abandoned, drifted into Bass Strait and sank in deep water.
Voyage Details  
Date Lost 18/02/1929
Voyage from Cairns, Queensland to Melbourne
Valued at $200,000, included a racehorse, three cars
Owner Australasian United Steam Navigation Company
Weather conditions
Cause of Loss
Hit an uncharted rock during fog
Further Details  
Number of Passengers 141
Number of Crew Members 0