The Steamship, Nord
(Maritime Museum of Tasmania)
The 1,843 ton Nord was built by the Grangemouth Dockyard Company at Greenock, Scotland, in 1900. Measuring 269.4' x 42.4' x 17.5' the vessel was registered at London, Official No. 120170, and was owned by the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company.
In early November 1915 the Nord was proceeding from Melbourne to Hobart, loaded with 12,000 cases of benzine (petroleum). On the 7th, while battling strong winds and heavy seas near the Tasman Peninsula, the captain turned the vessel inside the Hippolyte Rocks seeking smoother waters. At around 5.00 pm the Nord struck an uncharted rock in the passage and began to take in water.
The vessel continued to the south seeking the sheltered waters of Port Arthur but the strong tides and heavy seas prevented the foundering steamship from making sufficient headway. At 7.00 pm the Nord was abandoned by its crew and the vessel sank shortly afterwards. Despite the high seas and inhospitable terrain of the Tasman Peninsula all 42 crew were saved.
A Court of Inquiry cleared Captain M. Mackay of blame for the loss of the vessel due to inaccuracies in the charts and sailing directions for the area. It was believed that the Nord had struck on the same uncharted rocks which had sank the steamship Tasman in 1883.
Diver on the wreck of the Nord
(Photography by Mark Spencer)
The hull of the Nord now lies upright on the sea bed in 35-40 metres of water. The structure is largely intact although some of the upper works and decking have collapsed inwards. The wreck is a popular and interesting dive despite its depth and exposed location. The site is most easily visited through the Eaglehawk Dive Centre on the Tasman Peninsula.
Scuba Diver, October/November 1991
Tasmanian Government Gazette, 7 December 1915
Hobart Mercury, 9-11 November 1915