The Scottish Prince was an iron hulled barque with three masts built in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1878. Built for the Scottish Line by McIllwraith and McEachern & Co., she was a passenger and cargo ship that transported people and goods between the United Kingdom and Australia.
On the night of 2 February 1887, the Scottish Prince was ending a voyage from Glasgow to Brisbane. While under the care of the Second Mate, who was unfamiliar with the waters, the barque ran aground at the southern end of South Stradbroke Island shortly after midnight.
In the morning the stricken Scottish Prince was visible from the balcony of Hanlon’s Hotel (Pacific Hotel), later the site of Australia Fair Shopping Centre. Three tug boats attempted to shift the vessel during calmer weather but, despite all efforts, she remained fixed in place and the passengers were disembarked.
Before the Scottish Prince could be dislodged, weather conditions worsened and the ship tilted over with water entering below decks and the vessel, and her cargo, was abandoned. As the ship gradually broke apart her cargo of whisky, beer, sewing machines, mousetraps, cornflour, sweets and blankets washed ashore. Residents were reminded that all goods found needed to be forwarded to the Customs officers in Southport though local legend suggests that caches of whiskey and other goods were buried in the sand for retrieval at a later, and less vigilant time.
A subsequent enquiry indicated that the vessel had been too close to shore and that the necessary precautions for navigating in such a location where not in place. Questions were also raised about the poor condition of the log books.
The Scottish Prince lies south of the Southport Spit approximately 500 metres offshore in shallow water and has become the home of a variety of marine life and a popular dive site, although only a few timbers of its hull remain. In December 1984 the Scottish Prince came under the protection of the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act.
In acknowledgement of the wreck, a local hotel was named the Scottish Prince. The hotel was later renamed the Anglers Arms Hotel and, despite being extensively refurbished and rebuilt, the Anglers Arms remains on the corner of Lenneberg and Queen Streets, Southport.
Sources of Information and further reading
- An initiative of the Queensland Museum and the Heritage Branch (Department of Communication and the Arts) [n.d.]
- Welsby, Thos. The story of a wreck, 46 years ago on the outer sands at Southport. 1 July, 1933, p. 2.
- People magazine. New York: Time Inc, 1 Jan 1969, p. 14. http://www.maaq.org.au/wreck/71_Scottish_Prince.php
- Queensland State Government, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
- “The Scottish Prince.” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 12 Feb 1887: 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3463298
- “Scottish Prince Hotel.” The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), 7 Oct 1905, p. 18. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20798748
- The Scottish Prince.” The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939) 19 Feb 1887, p. 299. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19922918