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Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Parks and Wildlife Service announce road opening


Florentine Road and Arve Road (to the Hartz Mountain junction) are officially reopened to the public.More

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Good news, Hartz Mountain National Park and other tracks are open!


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Anchor of the Brahmin

The 616 ton fully rigged ship Brahmin was built by J. Scott and Company at Greenock, Scotland, in 1842. Measuring 124.8' x 26.4' x 20.6' the vessel was registered at Greenock and was owned by J. Thompson and Company which later became the Orient Line. As the name suggests the Brahmin was originally built for the India trade although it also made a number of voyages to China.

On 5 February 1854 the Brahmin left Gravesend, England, bound for Sydney with a general cargo, five passengers and a crew of 35 under the command of Captain Malcolm McEacharn. By late May the vessel was sailing under gale force winds west of Bass Strait. The weather prevented the Captain from taking accurate navigational observations and at around midnight on the 21st the Brahmin struck a reef off the western coast of King Island.

Despite the conditions, the vessel held together until daylight when the ship's longboat was launched. The boat was subsequently swamped with the loss of 12 of the crew and four passengers before the remainder reached the shore. Captain McEacharn was the last to leave the Brahmin and he too was drowned before reaching safety.

The survivors of the wreck spent five months on King Island until the schooner Waterwitch was wrecked there in September. Using a small boat from the Waterwitch two of the crew managed to sail to Melbourne to seek help. The steamships Electra and Manchester were despatched to pick up the castaways who arrived in Melbourne on 25 October.

The Site

Anchor of the Brahmin

Artefacts salvaged from the Brahmin

The Brahmin site was rediscovered in 1976 on the west coast of King Island by three local divers. They were led to the site by the presence of artefact material scattered along the shoreline and the known location of the survivors camp. The remains of the Brahmin were located approximately 700 metres off shore on the seaward side of a small reef. Although little appears to remain of the timber hull, the more durable elements of the cargo and ship's fittings have been well preserved.

The site of the Brahmin is difficult to relocate and is best visited through local dive charter operators. A selection of artefact material from the wreck may be seen at the King Island Museum, Currie. The Brahmin was registered under the Commonwealth Historic Shipwreck Act 1976 during 1985.

Further Reading

Nash, M. 1989. "The Historic Shipwreck Brahmin 1842-1854" Bulletin of the Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology 13(1): 15-18.