Kangaroo Island Shipwrecks
Turquoise water and pristine white sand.

Kangaroo Island shipwrecks rank among the most unique attractions on Australia’s third largest island. The narrow Backstairs Passage between mainland South Australia and Kangaroo Island is one of the reasons why up to 85 ships submerged beneath the island’s surface since 1847.

Many of those who lost their lives were whalers and sealers.

Shipwrecks on Kangaroo Island

Improved technology aboard vessels and the construction of lighthouses around the island have dramatically decreased the amount of Kangaroo Island shipwrecks during the last century, but several shipwrecks remain undiscovered across the island’s coast.

The largest Kangaroo Island shipwreck was the Portland Maru, which went down off the island’s northwest coast near the Cape Torrens Conservation Park in 1935.

The Loch Sloy, whose 1899 Maurpetius Bay sinking resulted in the drowning of 31 people, is the island’s deadliest known shipwreck.

Shipwrecks of special interest to scuba divers include the Fides, which sank in 1860, and the Loch Vennachar, which remained undiscovered for more than 70 years after its initial 1905 sinking.

Colourful tropical fish and coral reefs surround the remains of the Fides, while the Loch Vennachar’s winch and anchor remain relatively intact.

All of the above shipwrecks are most easily explored along the Kangaroo Island Shipwreck Trail, which circles around the island’s coast.

Penneshaw and Kingscote both contain introductory panels, while seven more story panels are scattered across the coastline.

Newspaper articles and personal stories help tell the fascinating stories behind the most famous Kangaroo Island shipwrecks.

Map of kangaroo Island

Explore more with our Kangaroo Island map and find your way around Australia’s third-largest island. Zoom in on the map to discover more.

Kangaroo Island Experiences

There are plenty of things to experience on Kangaroo Island. Crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, diving, kayaking and surfing while, on land, food safaris, bushwalks and walking tours are some of the best in Australia.

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About 'Kangaroo Island Australia'

Kangaroo Island Australia is a 'Web Magazine' website that is dedicated to all things related to Kangaroo Island. We are passionate about Australia's great southern island, its vast marine and wildlife, its white sandy beaches, its turquiose waters and the unforgetable experiences that are waiting for all who visit. Our aim is to discuss Kangaroo Island, its history, its environment, its wildlife and its spectacular destinations. We hope that this website will inspire all who visit, just as much as Kangaroo Island has inspired us.

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