Sunday, March 28th, 2010
The sinking of the luxury liner, SS Pericles was commemorated at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse on Friday 26th March as the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association (AMRTA), media, historical groups and descendants of the survivors gathered to honour the centenary of this historic occasion.

The story of the Pericles is remarkable and inextricably linked with mainland Australia’s tallest lighthouse at this most treacherous of capes.

At the point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet on March 31st, 1910, 11,000 tonne luxurious passenger ship, the SS Pericles sank off Cape Leeuwin after hitting an unchartered rock. She then drifted to within seven kilometres of the Lighthouse and sank in 34 metres of water.

Lighthouse Supervisor, Paul Sofilas, recalls the significance of this event in relation to Cape Leeuwin and the township of Augusta.

“She is the only shipwreck since the Lighthouse was built in 1896 and is the largest passenger liner to ever sink off the coast of Australia. It is simply remarkable that there was no loss of life, all thanks to the actions of the Lighthouse keepers lit fires on the beach to guide the lifeboats to shore” he said.

Acting CEO of the AMRTA Jayme Hatcher was honoured to be able to host this event at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

“The Lighthouse is an iconic attraction of Augusta and the region. The Pericles sinking forms a fundamental part of the history here and this is the perfect backdrop to commemorate the centenary.

“The AMRTA and the community of Augusta have worked together to remember the 100 year anniversary and have organised a few special events and tours at the Lighthouse and in the town site over the next week.”

The Hon. Barry House commended all involved in hosting the event and reiterated the
significance of this commemoration.

“Cape Leeuwin has played a significant role in our history and Australia’s early links with the outside world. The lighthouse and its keepers have always done their roles extremely well and efficiently which is evident in the sinking of the Pericles whereby miraculously no lives were lost,” said Mr House.

Pericles themed Lighthouse tours will operate on Sunday with all staff dressed in period costume. There will also be storytelling and performances throughout the afternoon to add to the atmosphere!

The Augusta Telecentre will be hosting a talk on the search for the HMAS Sydney on Monday 29th March at 7.30pm. There are also exhibits on show until Easter Sunday at the Augusta Historical Museum which is open from 11am to 4pm each day. The museum is a must do visit to Augusta with its extensive collection on early settlement in the region.

On Wednesday 31st March the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse will be operating as per usual but with a very special twist! All staff will be again be dressed in period costume but this time they are on the lookout for a ship ‘in distress’.

The Survivors Package is available for $20 adults and $12.50 children and includes a tour of the Lighthouse plus a Devonshire Tea. Story telling will be taking place in Cottage Three and a re-enactment from the school kids of Karridale Primary School begins at 10am – certainly a day at the Lighthouse not to be missed!

For more information please call the team at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse on 08 9758 1920 or Graeme Davis (Augusta Historical Museum Curator) on 0412 917 177.

Contact Profile


100 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River, Western Australia 6285 T: +61 8 9780 5911 F: +61 8 9757 3287 E: [email protected] W:
Cory Gale Marketing Department , Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association
P: +61 8 9780 5911


The sinking of the luxury liner, SS Pericles was commemorated at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.



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