The SS Speke was a massive three masted steel ship, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
in 1906 the Captain of the Speke mistook a fire on the island for either the Cape Schank Lighthouse for the Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet and ran around near Kitty Miller Bay on the reef.
Most of the crew escaped with only one reported death. The ship quickly split apart and was lost. Local salvaged most of the wreck in bit and pieces and ship relics can still be found around the island today.
The ship’s bell now rests in the Uniting Church in Cowes and the figure head once adored Cowes Primary School is now in the Cowes Historical Museum.
The wreck can not be seen from Kitty Miller Beach. To access the wreckage, start from Kitty Miller Beach and follow the beach around to the left. You’ll see a rough trail rise up the headland. Follow that trail up and over the neck and around the corner to the next bay.
This is only a 10-15 minute hike. The remains of the bow points skyward where the trail descends.
The SS Speke can be seen at anytime but the wreckage sits on the reef. Go at low tide to be able to walk around the wreck and you’ll also find odd bits and pieces of wreck embedded into the reef too.
Sunset at low tide is a spectacular time to visit the SS Speke.