The 338 ton composite barque Zanoni was built in Liverpool in 1865 and was 139 feet (44 metres) in length. It was built by W.H. Potter & Co and owned by Thomas Royden & Son and intended for the East India trade.
On 11 February 1867 under the command of Captain Summers and with a crew of 13, and two stevedores, the Zanoni set off on a return trip to Port Adelaide to obtain clearance to London. The vessel was now laden with bark and 4025 bags of wheat.
While crossing the Gulf in initially fine weather, Zanoni was hit by a sudden violent and short-lived squall. The ship capsized and sank within five minutes. All sixteen on board were rescued.
The shipwreck site was discovered in 1983 by abalone divers who reported the discovery. The wreck site of the Zanoni comprises one of the most complete remains of a vessel of its types and age to be located in South Australia and possibly Australia.
The shipwreck site is in 18 metres of water lying on a barren sea bed. Numerous types of fish inhabit the wreck site which is covered by sponges.
Zanoni is part of the Ardrossan Ships Graveyard.
The Zanoni was declared as an historic shipwreck under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1981 on 12 May 1983 and a 550-metre radius Protected Zone was declared.
Entry into the protected zone by any type of vessel, or conducting any underwater activities such as SCUBA diving, is illegal without a permit. In 1984 a barge was sunk 1 nautical mile south of the Zanoni to act as an alternative place for fishing. The coordinates of the barge are 34°31’50.5” S; 138°03’41.0” E.