Anchors and a memorial tablet were erected by the residents of Warrnambool in memory of the victims of the "Fiji" shipwreck in 1891, some of whom are buried at this site.

The memorial also commemorates local resident Arthur Wilkinson who drowned whilst trying to save victims struggling ashore from the wreck. The anchor of the "Fiji" is cemented to the reef near the wreck site.

The wreck of the barque Fiji was caused by poor weather and a navigational error. The ship was wrecked at Wreck Beach near Moonlight Head during a voyage from Hamburg to Melbourne.

The latest news from the wreck of the unfortunate vessel Fiji shows that she has completely broken up on the rocks. Yesterday morning the life-saving apparatus reached the wreck, and after some trouble communication was established between the shore and the ill-fated barque. Fifteen of the crew succeeded in getting safely ashore by means of the life line, but the others were lost. An heroic attempt by a selector named Williamson (sic) to save one of the drowning men resulted in the loss of his own life. He was standing on the shore and seeing one of the crew battling for dear life in the water plunged in. After a strong, fearful struggle, he reached the drowning man and assisted him back to the ship. Both got safely aboard, but the struggle had been too great for the brave rescuer, and he sank on the deck in a swoon from which he did not recover, and died in a few minutes. The saved men are : — Captain Vickers, Isley, Campbell (second officer), Leckey, Humphrey, Lovejoy and Evans (apprentices), Julius Gebhaur, (A.B.), Lyons, a sailmaker, and six German sailors whose names have not yet come to hand. The Lady Loch reached the scene of the wreck early yesterday afternoon, but finding that nothing could be done, and that there would be danger in trying to take the people aboard, returned to Apollo Bay.
Australian Star (Sydney), 8 September 1891.

Sir - At a well attended meeting of residents of Princetown and district, which was held at Mr Evans's Rivernook on Saturday evening last it was unanimously agreed that something should be done to perpetuate the memory of the brave, the heroic, and the unfortunate actors at the wreck of the Fiji.  Julius Gebhaur represents the first, Arthur Wilkinson the second and the poor fellows whose remains lie buried on the cliff over looking the scene of the mishap, the third. The form the "something" should take was discussed, and it was finally decided (l) that a monument be erected at the grave (2) that a medal, suitably inscribed be presented to the family of the late Arthur Wilkinson enabling his invalid mother and sisters to know the high esteem in which the deceased was held by his last neighbours and acquaintances, (3) that a medal be presented to Julius Gebhaur to tell of how his bravery was admired. A subscription list was opened in the room and a fair beginning was made towards the desired end. Officers were appointed, viz -Mr John Evans Hon secretary and Mr A N Tulloh,hon treasurer. It was decided that I should write, requesting you to kindly receive subscriptions to the above fund. Yours & etc. A. N. TULLOH, Manager National Bank Australasia, Cobden.   Sept. 17. [Subscriptions may be sent to us.-Ed. A.]
Argus (Melbourne), 19 September 1891.


Address:Moonlight Head Road, Wreck Beach, Gellibrand Lower, 3237
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.755568
Long: 143.213523
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Disaster
Approx. Event Start Date:September-1891
Approx. Event End Date:September-1891


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1892
Source: VMR
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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