Heritage VIC




Near The Nobbies, Phillip Island

VHR Number


Date lost


Year of construction


Official number


Statement of Significance

Physical Description  
Construction Material Wood
Rig Barque
Hull Details wooden lighter 218t, ex 3m barque 543t 138.8 x 28.6 x 18.7
Propulsion Sail
Length / Breadth / Depth 134.5 Feet / 28.0 Feet / 9.0 Feet
Built Date 1856
Built Port / Country Sunderland / England
Registration Port / Country Melbourne / Australia
Former Details of Registration London 1860
Many former sailing vessels such as the barque Birch Grove ended their careers as lighters and coal hulks. When the Birch Grove had ceased to be useful in this capacity, it was towed out to sea with the hulk of the barque Palace, set on fire but the tide current and wind blew it ashore near the Nobbies on Phillip Island. Two vessels, the PALACE and BIRCH GROVE, were wrecked at Cat Bay near the Nobbies at Phillip Island in 1932. However, the newspaper article that reported the wrecking of the two vessels does not provide any indication of the vessels' names. A search of Melbourne newspapers has indicated that two vessel, the BIRCH GROVE and PALACE were used as hulks up until the1930s. Information recently obtained from 'The Port of Melbourne Quartely' has stated that both the English-built BIRCH GROVE and the American-built PALACE were once ocean going sailing barques. Both vessels were condemned in the 1880s and were converted into lighters or hulks owned by The Victorian Lighterage Company. In February 1932 both vessels in company with tug KEERA departed Melbourne. The tug crew set the two vessels on fire and cast them adrift; however, the fires went out and the vessels drifted ashore in the vicinity of the Nobbies where they were broken up by the action of the sea. Lloyds indicate that the BIRCH GROVE was a wooden framed, felted and yellow metalled in accordance to the Rules. The vessel's rating of 13 A1 and its continued passing of surveys seems to indicate that it was a well-constructed vessel.
Voyage Details  
Date Lost 11/02/1932
Owner 1860: S.J. Pegg
Master of Vessel (Captain P.Taylor 1875)(Captain T.Robson 1880)
Cause of Loss
Deliberatly set on fire, drifted ashore onto, rocks
Further Details  
Number of Passengers 0
Number of Crew Members 0