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National Trust Willunga branch.

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National Trust of South Australia


Star of Greece shipwreck

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Fast Facts
Type of event Accident

Town or locality Port Wilunga
Date occurred or began July 13, 1888
Date ended July 13, 1888
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On July 13, 1888, in the early hours of the morning, Star of Greece was wrecked just off the beach at Port Willunga. Star of Greece was part of the Calcutta jute trade for most of its time, and established a sailing speed record that was never broken. The ship was remarkable for the amount of brass on deck, and was thought to be the handsomest ship to ever enter Port Adelaide.

After leaving Semaphore with a cargo of wheat, Star of Greece is caught in a storm, and is wrecked off the beach at Port Willunga at 3.00am. When the wreck is discovered, the beach at Port Willunga is crowded with people trying to save the crew. There is no rocket, no life saving equipment, and the telegraph is not open, but still the people try. Some of the local heroes’ names are – from Port Willunga, Thomas Martin, James Nelson, Maria Bowering, William Bowering, Charles Addison, Thomas Lovelock, Noah Crisp, Ben Sparrow and Elizabeth Russell. Also Constable Thomas Tuohy who comes from Willunga.Despite the best efforts of the people of Port Willunga, 18 men died, including the captain, Henry Harrower.

Many of the relics from the Star of Greece can be seen today. Some of in private hands, some are at the South Australian Maritime Museum, such as the figurehead, and some at the Willunga Courthouse in "A Tragic Shore" exhibition. One of the Star of Greece's anchors is now a memorial for sailing sea captains and crews at Semaphore.

Star of Greece shipwreck is a story of tragedy, heroism and government bungling, and has become one of South Australia's iconic shipwrecks.

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External Links


  • Manning G.H. 1988 Willunga: National Trust of Australia (Willunga Branch)
  • Sexton R. Before the Wind: The Saga of the Star of Greece. 1982 Magill SA: Australasian Maritime Historical Society
  • Simpson P.W. Star of Greece: For Profit & Glory 2017 Adelaide: Clippership Press.

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