BBC dives into legend of the Loch Ard on the Shipwreck Coast

Published in The Standard, March 1, 2013

Diving instructor Gary Barclay admires a model of the ill-fated Loch Ard.
Diving instructor Gary Barclay admires a model of the ill-fated Loch Ard.

DIVING instructor Gary Barclay will lead a BBC production team into the ocean depths off Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast.

The eight-part documentary series Coast Australia  will cover the history, geology and human interest stories of shipwrecks and diving sites across Australia, including south-west Victoria’s Loch Ard shipwreck.

Mr Barclay, who regularly leads diving expeditions from Warrnambool’s Daktari Surf and Dive Shop, will take a film crew to the Loch Ard wreck, show them points of interest and explain the site’s history.

Mr Barclay has visited the site about 200 times since he began diving in the 1980s, but said he still found the shipwreck fascinating.

“The history behind Loch Ard is amazing. It’s incredible how the story just lives on and on,” he said.

“It’s a very unique, amazing site because you can still see everything.”

He said the wreck was located about 500 metres off the Shipwreck Coast, between 14 and 24 metres deep.

But Mr Barclay, of Koroit, said the site was difficult to reach, as it was only ideal for exploring a few days each year.

The Loch Ard sailed from England in 1878, carrying 54 passengers and crew. It struck a rocky reef east of Port Campbell and sank within 15 minutes.

Only two people survived.

The eight-part series is scheduled to air on Foxtel’s History Channel later this year.

It will be produced by Great Southern Television and hosted by British historian and television presenter Neil Oliver.

Film crew will arrive in a couple of weeks to begin shooting.

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Brianna Piazza

Journalist and travel writer.

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