Australia Marine Conservation Society - KI Branch

Hog Bay


Sea Grass

MARINE >> Hog Bay

Hog Bay Reef is formed by the exposed edge of Kanmantoo Schist protruding above the sea bed.

Hog Bay Reef is the Historic Site of the wreck of the William, Kangaroo Island's first known shipwreck. She was built in 1847 of local timber by Capt. William Wright at Hog Bay, Kangaroo Island for trade between KI and Port Adelaide.

Cutter of the Period- Similar to the William.

Hog Bay Reef forms the western edge of Hog Bay; Ironstone Point is the eastern headland. The resulting bay has been caused by thousands of years of tidal actions buffeting across these obstacles. No one knows how the sand drift of Hog Bay Beach or the unusual tidal movements within Hog Bay operate.

During 1997 the local community began a joint Coast Care monitoring program for Hog Bay Reef and sand movement along Hog Bay Beach. This program links students from the Penneshaw School, community and participating visitors with a long term Coastal Management study of local marine geography and sand movements within Hog Bay.

Pencil Urchin, Phyllacanthus sp? irregularis

Temperate coastal waters contain 85% of the seas marine species compared to 13% for coastal tropical waters. Kangaroo Island is surrounded by rich temperate waters. We are the meeting place of the Pacific and Indian Oceans unique biospheres.

Kangaroo Island's spectacular coastline is renowned for it's beauty, ruggedness and abundance of natural wildlife, both marine and terrestrial.

The coastline is also notorious for it's sometimes turbulent waters. Being located at a point where the Pacific, Indian and Great Southern Oceans converge, Kangaroo Island's coastline is regularly buffeted with large swells and strong winds, making circumnavigation of the coastline perilous. As a result of these rough seas, over 40 ships have become wrecked off Kangaroo Island since 1847, many with tragic loss of life.

Shortly after Kangaroo Island was settled in 1836, a man by the name of William Wright oversaw the construction of the first vessel ever to be built on the island after official European settlement, of which he would be captain. The location was Hog Bay, and Mr. Wright named his vessel the William.

Little detail is known about the William's structure, records from this time are sketchy and photography was not readily available. It is likely that her hull consisted entirely of locally grown timbers, and that when finished was a fine cutter of 20 tons. She was designed to transport cargo between Port Adelaide and Hog Bay, and Captain Wright employed a crew of 3 to do just this.

On the evening of Monday, August 23rd, 1847, the William, carrying a cargo of sugar, flour, woolpacks and 1 passenger, departed Port Adelaide and set sail for her usual destination of Hog Bay.

Due to the absence of a jetty, lighthouse or beacon at Hog Bay during this time, Captain Wright would drop anchor some distance behind Hog Bay Reef, and row the crew and cargo in to shore. However, on this night the weather was unduly rough and worsening, and the howling NNE wind cast the William onto Hog Bay Reef, where it was smashed to pieces in a little under 2 hours. Fortunately, all inhabitants of the cutter were able to row safely to shore.

Saturday, August 23rd, 1997 marked the 150th anniversary of the wrecking of the William on Hog Bay Reef. Remains of the cutter still lie under the surface next to the reef, just beyond the jetty. The Kangaroo Island Scuba Divers Club retrieved the anchor in 1979, which has been preserved in Adelaide by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The site of the wreck is also protected under the
Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976.

Hard Hat diver, in standard dive dress, and crew working on the Hog Bay Jetty in 1909

The Australian Marine Conservation Society, Kangaroo Island branch is planning to bring the anchor of the William home to Kangaroo Island, to be displayed in the Penneshaw Maritime and Folk Museum.

The anchor is retrieved, 1979.

Anybody who has any information, sketches, diaries or memorabilia which might be associated with the wreck of the William are encouraged to contact the AMCS on 85531072.

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