"SS Ly-ee-Moon"Print Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Russell Byers

The Ly-ee-moon Graveyard is a memorial and stark reminder of the horrific accident on the night of May 30st, 1886, when 71 men, women and children lost their lives. The white stone and single cross mark the positions of the unnamed graves. The nearby plaque names the people who lost their lives - sadly some names where not known and these people are remembered only by comments such as 'one who had a German accent'. 

The steamer was ultimately wrecked while travelling at a speed of 11.5 knots rounding Green Cape on the night of 30 May, 1886. Captain Webber appeared on deck unannounced at about 9 pm and was horrified to sea the Ly-ee-Moon steaming directly for the rocks at the foot of the lighthouse. The vessel crashed to a halt as he put the engines into reverse, but became stuck fast. Any hope failed when the hull broke completely in two after ten minutes. The stern remained on the outer reef, but the bow section containing the saloon broke away and drifted towards the shore. In total, seventy-one passengers and crew lost their life.

During that night, the lighthouse keeper and assistant heroically rescued 16 people from the sea, and were left to listen to cries for help though the night of other people who could not be saved. The mother of Blessed Mary MacKillop, the first Australian to be beatified by the Catholic church, was one of those lost during the night.

Those bodies that could be recovered were buried in a small cemetery away from the lighthouse, as they could not wait transportation to Sydney. At the later Marine Enquiry, Captain Webber was charged with gross negligence, but Third Officer Fotheringham who was in charge when the steamer struck, was not penalised .


Address:Green Cape Lighthouse Road, Green Cape, 2551
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.2574325
Long: 150.0471152
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:30-May-1886
Actual Event End Date:30-May-1886


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1986
Front Inscription

On Sunday 30th May 1886 the ship Ly-Ee-Moon was wrecked on Green Cape with the loss of over 70 lives, of the persons buried here, those who  were identified are marked thus *

Saloon Passengers

[ Names ]

Steerage passengers 

[ Names ]

The Ships Company 

[ Names ]

Erected 1986

Inscription in Proximity


The graves in this enclosure are of those people who lost their lives in the wreck of the S.S. Ly-Ee-Moon on the 30th May,  1886.

The ship of 1,200 tons was sailing from Melbourne to Sydney when it struck the reef off Green Cape.  Of the eighty-six on board, only fourteen survived.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au