On the 3rd February 1887, under the command of Captain William Little, the Scottish Prince was proceeding northward along the east coast on the final stages of a voyage from Glasgow to Brisbane.

At 11:40pm the master left the deck, leaving the second mate in charge—who had never sailed these waters before. Shortly after midnight the vessel ran aground.

Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the steamers Tweed, Otter and Gunga to tow the Scottish Prince off the bar. Within a few days, as south-easterly weather conditions deteriorated, the vessel keeled over and was abandoned.

Over the following weeks the decks opened up allowing cases of cargo including sewing machines, drapery, whisky and beer to be washed ashore.