Fiji was a three masted barque. It was an international trading vessel constructed of iron and lined with cement.
Inward bound from Hamburg to Melbourne with a crew of 20 and a general cargo including 200 cases of dynamite, was nearing Cape Otway when she struck rocks at Moonlight Head about 300 yards from the shore on 6th September, 1891.
Within minutes, the 26 crew were driven to the forecastle head, bowsprit and jibboom and there they clung expecting the ship to go to pieces or be washed off into the raging surf. Several men made it to shore whilst others drowned in the surf. Twelve lives were lost. Strong criticism was levelled through the press at the complete failure of the sea rescue attempts, and the comparative failure of those by land.
Continuous heavy seas which roll in onto Wreck Beach largely prevented organised salvage attempts but in 1894 several divers managed to salvage some of the hundreds of tons of coiled wire rope which had formed part of her cargo.