Mahogany Ship wreck and south-west to gain international exposure

The mystery surrounding the south-west’s infamous Mahogany Ship wreck will gain international exposure when it features on a US television program next year. 

About eight crew members have been shooting in Warrnambool since Friday at local sites including Flagstaff Hill and nearby sand dunes.

The series, Expedition Unknown which airs on the Travel Channel in the US, chronicles the adventures of Josh Gates as he investigates iconic mysteries across the globe. It is expected to be screened in the US in April.

Mahogany Ship committee chair Pat Connelly and member John Sherwood were interviewed at Flagstaff Hill as they walked up the maritime village’s cobblestones on Friday and Saturday. Shipwreck hunter Ross Poulter spoke about his experience and finds relating to the famed wreck. 

“We told them the story of the Mahogany Ship and what we know about it,” Mr Connelly said. “They were out in the dunes on Saturday and Sunday with a couple of the people who’ve searched for it. The crew were absolutely rapt with the whole of Flagstaff Hill, the village, the (Loch Ard) peacock and all the display downstairs. They were very captivated by it. It’s going to get a big boost in the US.”

Friends of Flagstaff Hill chair Ron Sproston said he and his wife Carlyn, who is on the committee, dressed in period costumes and were filmed looking out to sea to where the ship could be. 

Exposure: A US television crew interviewed south-west residents Ross Poulter and John Sherwood this week about the Mahogany Ship for its series Expedition Unknown. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Exposure: A US television crew interviewed south-west residents Ross Poulter and John Sherwood this week about the Mahogany Ship for its series Expedition Unknown. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Dr Sherwood said a sealing party came across a shipwreck in the sand dunes near Tower Hill in 1836. The ship pre-dated European settlement and its origin was unknown. Mobile sand dunes buried the wreck, now known as the Mahogany Ship sometime after the 1880s.

Warrnambool City Council visitor economy manager David McMahon said it was a fascinating story with eyewitness accounts from the 19th century sufficiently compelling to attract the ongoing interest of researchers and academics.

“This latest documentary examining the Mahogany Ship is great for Warrnambool and for the story of the ship. Our stunning coastline has a rich maritime history and any focus on the Mahogany Ship also highlights the natural beauty of our wild coast,” Mr McMahon said.