Ethel reveals herself once again

News article |

The 112-year-old Ethel shipwreck at Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Parkhas been exposed following the dramatic weather conditions that rocked the Yorke Peninsula and much of the state over the past few days.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National ParkRanger in Charge, Mark Davison said the large ground swell so close to the coast line, coupled with marine gale force winds and an extremely high tide, resulted in the wreck becoming visible.

"Last Wednesday (4th May) we had a particularly large ground swell where the wave heights recorded offshore reached 13m," Mr Davison said.

"The Ethel is located at an open ocean beach, meaning that it is not protected and wave heights have reached about 4.5m, this large swell started to remove sand off the beach.

"Together with the storm event that we have just experienced, sand continued to be siphoned and the shipwreck was further unearthed.

"To put things into perspective, the boiler of the nearby S.S. Ferret wreck is normally covered by at least 2m of sand, and is now completely exposed sitting on base rock."

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National ParkBusiness Support Officer, Cath Cameron said that the Ethel wreck is an icon of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Parkand the story of its fate an interesting part of the state’s history.

The Ethel, originally named Carmelo, was built in England in 1876 and became shipwrecked after being caught in a violent storm off the coast of Yorke Peninsula in 1904, while en-route to Port Adelaide from South Africa.

"It struck reef as it rounded the Yorke Peninsula, damaging its rudder and leaving it unsteerable; the crew became stranded and one crew member drowned trying to swim ashore," Ms Cameron said.

"The S.S. Ferret notified a nearby lighthouse keeper of the stranding, and while they attempted to salvage the ship, the location of the beach and its steep cliffs made it impossible.

"The iron frame of the ship collapsed in 1985 and much of the remains are now normally covered by sand, so this exposure gives us a rare opportunity to view the wreck."

Coincidentally the last time the Ethel was revealed was the same May weekend in 2015; South Australia also celebrates its History Festival throughout May.

For more information about the Ethel wreck, as well as camping and heritage accommodation bookings at Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, visit

Visitors to the region should be aware that shipwrecks in South Australia are protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976) and people are prohibited from interfering with the wreck.

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