Heritage VIC




Beware Reef, Cape Conran

VHR Number


Date lost


Year of construction


Official number


Physical Description  
Construction Material Iron
Hull Details Iron screw steamer. 4 cemented bulkheads. Iron decked. Raised quarter deck 78ft. Bridge Deck 40ft. Fore Deck 20ft. Double bottom aft 73ft, double bottom fore 102ft. Foreward and aft peak tanks. Anchors and chains proofed.
Propulsion Steam - Screw
Length / Breadth / Depth 214.0 Feet / 31.0 Feet / 15.5 Feet
Builder S. P. Austin & Co
Built Date 1878
Built Port / Country Sunderland / England
Registration Port / Country Adelaide / Australia
The SS Ridge Park was used as a collier by the Black Diamond Line of Adelaide. It also carried a limited number of passengers and general cargo on outward voyages from Adelaide to Newcastle. The vessel usually returned with a cargo of coal and some passengers from Sydney to Adelaide via Launceston. At 3.50am on 10 February 1881 the Ridge Park was carrying a cargo of brandy, wine and flour from Adelaide to Sydney when it struck the north western side of Beware Reef. The captain and crew took to the lifeboat and made for Gabo Island, which they reached the following day. They were later rescued by the SS Wentworth and taken to Sydney. The Ridge Park remained on the rocks for just over a month until a series of severe southerly gales washed the wreck into deeper water. Most of the cargo was salvaged. A Marine Board of Inquiry found that Captain Heslop and Chief Officer Peake had been inattentive to their duties while navigating close to the coast. Despite submitting letters in their defence both had their certificates suspended for three months. The widely scattered remains of the SS Ridge Park include the straight stemmed triangular bow structure, winch, a squashed boiler, the engine, propeller and broken up hull plating in 7 - 24 metres depth on the north-western side of Beware Reef. The Sailors Graves on Cape Conran are supposed to have been men who lost their lives during salvage activities on the Ridge Park.
Voyage Details  
Date Lost 10/02/1881
Voyage from Adelaide to Sydney
Brandy, wine, flour
Owner Henry Simpson and Sons (Black Diamond Line) 1880
Master of Vessel Captain Heslop
Cause of Loss
Inattentive navigation
Further Details  
Number of Passengers 0
Number of Crew Members 0