Thursday, December 24, 2009

The ex-HMAS Canberra is Victoria's newest tourist attraction

(Source: )

The ex-HMAS Canberra is Victoria's newest tourist attraction, having been scuttled on 4th October 2009. An online booking system for moorings at the site is now open at . Parks Victoria requires divers to be qualified and reminds all divers they are responsible for ensuring conditions are safe for diving. Divers can book a dive tour with a licensed tour operator or book a 2-hour mooring through Parks Victoria in order to access the site. A mooring will cost $30 per boat regardless of the number of divers on board - the money raised will contribute some of the costs of managing the site. For more information visit the ex-HMAS Canberra page at


Several Australian warships have been scuttled as dive wrecks in Australian waters since HMAS Swan was the first of them in 1997. The Swan was scuttled as a dive wreck in Geographe Bay off of Dunsborough, WA on 14th December 1997, making her the first Australian warship to be scuttled as a dive wreck in Australia.HMAS Swan (DE-50) had been a River Class frigate (anti-submarine) destroyer escort.The former Charles F Adams class GMD (Guided Missile Destroyer) HMAS Perth (DDG-38) became the second Australian warship to be scuttled in Western Australia (& Australia) when she was scuttled as a dive wreck near Albany on 24th November 2001.HMAS Hobart (DDG-39), another former Charles F Adams Class destroyer, was scuttled as a dive wreck in Yankalilla Bay on 5th November 2002. She was South Australia’s first (and so far only) ex-Australian warship scuttled as a dive wreck. HMAS Brisbane (DDG-41), yet another former Charles F Adams Class destroyer, was scuttled off of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on 31st July 2005 to become an artificial reef and dive site.The former FFG-7 Class frigate HMAS Canberra (FFG-02) was scuttled off Ocean Grove, Victoria on 4th October 2009. HMAS Adelaide (FFG-01), another former FFG-7 Class frigate, is planned to be scuttled 1km off of Avoca Beach near Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast in April 2010. The Adelaide was the navy ship that rescued yachtsmen Tony Bullimore & Thierry Dubois in 1997.

MLSSA website

The Marine Life Society of South Australia supports my work by publishing much of it through its newsletters, annual journal and website. Many of my articles regarding shipwrecks may be found through the MLSSA website at .

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Links to my shipwreck blog

I was surprised to find links to my shipwreck blog at
It's a great shipwreck site, so check it out.

The scattered wreck of the Kona

My article about the scattered wreck of the Kona can now be read on-line at

Links to my shipwreck blog

I was surprised to find links to my shipwreck blog at . Needless to say, it's a great shipwreck site. Check it out now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Discovery of the wreck of the Centaur.

AHS Centaur (Source:
The crew of the Seahorse Spirit confirmed the location of the wreck of the AHS Centaur. Search director David Mearns says the wreck location is about 30nm (48km?) east of the southern tip of Moreton Island off the south-east Queensland coast at a depth of 2059m. The WWII hospital ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine at 4am on 14th May 1943 and sank with the loss of 268 lives. Many people were taken by sharks. Only 64 of the 332 people on board survived. They waited 36 hours to be rescued by the American destroyer Mugford. A special task force will now be formed to decide how best to commemorate the sinking of the Centaur. The wreck site is now being protected by an exclusion zone. The team that discovered the wreck site immediately returned home for a break over Christmas. They intended returning to the site in early January 2010 to start taking images of the wreck. Here are some more links re the discovery of the wreck of the Centaur: -,23739,26510850-952,00.html,1,26511211-952,00.html

Sunday, November 1, 2009


A trail has now been laid between the Claris and Kalari wrecks off of Glenelg. According to the web page at, the Claris is a 12m-long (ship?) wreck about 4km west of the Dredge (South Australian). She lies at a depth of about 25-28m. Her GPS coordinates are said to be 35:00:250 S, 138:21:089 E (WGS84). The GPS coordinates of the nearby Kalari are said to be 35 00 273 S, 138 21 110 E

Thursday, October 29, 2009


It seems that the boiler from the 1889 wreck of the screw steamer Cowry has been removed from Normanville beach by the Yankalilla council and placed in the local museum.


The large iron-stocked anchor thought to be from the Tigress wreck
Christopher Deane has now made his announcement regarding Positive Photographic Proof about the probable source of the large anchor at Port Noarlunga reef. His announcement was included in his “South Aussie Snippets” column in the October issue of Dive Log. It seems that the Scuba Divers Club of SA had moved the anchor from the Tigress wreck site about 1970.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The wreck of the British WWI E-Class submarine HMAS E18 has been found off the coast of Estonia by Swedish marine survey company Marin Matteknik (MMT) that had been searching for it for the past 10 years. The sub had been launched in 1915 and she was sent to the Baltic Sea to help Russia stop German shipments of iron ore from Sweden. The sub had a crew of 33 who all perished when it sank. The wreck was found 140km west of Tallinn, near the island of Hiiumaa, during October. The wreck of the E18 was found in fairly good shape. Her port side was damaged and she suffered further minor damages elsewhere.
According to “The Encyclopedia of Ships”, 55 E-Class submarines were built between 1913 & 1916. 22 of them were lost during WWI. They were 55m long, had two screws, diesel engines and two electric motors. The history of the E18 is available through Wikipedia at . According to the web page found at, the British naval submarine HMS E18 has been found on the seabed close to the Estonian island of Dago after having been missing for over 90 years. The submarine disappeared with all hands in the Baltic Sea during routine exercises in May 1916. Carl Douglas, the leader of search operations and owner of MMT, was able to locate the vessel with the help of maps detailing the location of mines on the Baltic Sea sea bed. A YouTube video can be seen at .

Thursday, October 1, 2009

HMAS Canberra is set to be scuttled

Tourism Victoria says "The ex HMAS Canberra is set to be scuttled off the shores east of Barwon Heads this weekend on Sunday 4 October 2009 at approximately 9.15 am. Suitable weather conditions have been forecast and the vessel will begin its final journey leaving the Geelong Port on Saturday 3 October. You will be able to see this once in a lifetime event on the shores between Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, however please note that no commemorative event will be held on the day. An event to celebrate the opening of the new dive site is planned in future. Stakeholders will be notified in advance."

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The web page found at,22606,26125735-5006301,00.html suggests that Peter Christopher’s new book "Australian Shipwrecks - A Pictorial History" should now be available wherever good books are sold.

Monday, September 14, 2009

HMAS Adelaide to be scuttled off NSW

The ex-HMAS Adelaide will soon be scuttled off NSW. This is the ship which helped in the rescue of English yachtsman, Tony Bullimore years ago.


Whilst several ex-Navy vessels are being scuttled as artificial reefs, new technology is helping in the discovery of lost shipwrecks. Some recent discoveries are as follows: -
The Glenelg shipwreck has been found off Victoria's east coast 109 years after 31 people drowned when it mysteriously sank.
The Soviet submarine S-2, which sank in the Baltic Sea during WW2, was found by a team of divers in February this year.
The wreck of the City of Rayville, which sank off Victoria during WW2, was pinpointed during recent mapping of the sea floor by Deakin University. The ship was a US vessel that was lost off of Cape Otway after striking a German mine on 8th November 1940. She was carrying a cargo of lead, wool and copper from SA to New York, via Melbourne. She was the first US ship to be sunk during WW2. Her approximate position had been known since 2002, but the Deakin Uni team found the exact position whilst using state of the art sonar equipment.
Three recreational divers, including Graeme Henderson from the WA Museum, recently found what appears to be the 115-year old wreck of the dredge Fremantle was off of the WA coast. The Fremantle was used to create Fremantle harbour.
Recent storms uncovered remnants of the brig Ida which ran aground at Port Willunga in January 1857.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

buoys have been positioned in preparation of scuttling of ex- HMAS Canberra

The previously scheduled scuttling of the ex-HMAS Canberra for 12 September 2009 was postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions. The scuttling will be rescheduled to a date with suitable weather conditions as soon as possible. 3 buoys have been positioned approximately 2nm south of Ocean Grove in preparation for the scuttling. The buoys are located in the approximate positions;
1. 38° 18′056″ S, 144° 32′607″ E- Marked with red soft buoy.
2. 38° 17′829″ S, 144° 32′574″ E- Marked with orange soft buoy and has rope coil on surface.
3. 38° 17′827″ S, 144° 32′655″ E- Marked with orange soft buoy and has rope coil on surface.
An isolated danger mark 38° 17′827″ S, 144° 32′615″ E with yellow light (3 sec flash) placed between buoys 2 and 3.
It is recommended that all vessels take caution at approximately 75m from the isolated danger mark. Source:
Tthe ex HMAS Canberra Reef Location is approximately 2-3km offshore from the dune coastline of Ocean Grove (4.2 km from the mouth of the Barwon River, & 6.2 km from Point Lonsdale).


An announcement is imminent from Christopher Deane regarding 'Positive Photographic Proof' about the source of the large anchor at Port Noarlunga reef. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Horseshoe Bay Shipwreck Trail

I visited Horseshoe Bay at Port Elliot recently. I was able to take some photographs of the shipwreck trail there, including this photo. There is a large mooring anchor close to the car park near the Port Elliot jetty. This and further shots can be found at

Monday, August 24, 2009


Details regarding the wreck of the Japanese midget submarine M24 can be viewed at

Sunday, August 23, 2009


The Polar Mist sank 40km off of Argentina’s Patagonian coast during bad weather on 18th January this year. She had 9.4 tonnes of gold & silver on board. A team of divers has now recovered almost $24m worth of gold from the icy waters.


A spar thought to be from the Star of Greece shipwreck is now on display at the Aldinga Library.


The web page found at says, "To reduce anchor damage, mooring buoys have been installed at five of the wrecks, for boats to tie up to". We asked the SA Trails Coordinating Committee how are those mooring buoys were going, adding that, “David Nutley, Principal Maritime Heritage Officer, Heritage Branch, Department for Environment and Heritage, advises us that the Norma mooring buoy has not yet been replaced. "We are looking at the whole question of the future management of shipwreck mooring buoys and whether their ongoing maintenance is viable" he said. "Maintenance costs are significant due to their susceptibility to damage from weather, etc.. Not an easy problem to solve at present. The Star of Greece buoy was collected from the beach last Friday (24/7) and is unfortunately unrepairable. We will be looking into options for that site", he said.” We received a reply from Marty Krieg, Project Officer, Asset Management & Development, Office for Recreation & Sport, which reads, “Thank you for your email. I will forward it on to the DEH representatives on the SA Trails Coordinating Committee (SATCC) who may be able to follow up on this issue with David Nutley. Judy Hani is the representative from SDFSA on the SATCC, and she noted the issue with the Star of Greece buoy at the last meeting a couple of weeks ago. Generally speaking it is probably a good idea to raise these types of issues via Judy as the SATCC is a good forum in which to do that.” Visit for more details re the Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail.


The five interpretive signs along the Ethelton Bank for the Jervois Basin Ships' Graveyard Maritime Heritage Trail have been removed during the Newport developments there. DEH’s Robyn Ashworth says, “I have been having talks with LMC/Port Partnerships about the replacement of these signs. I am hopeful that a project to do this (or to integrate the information from these signs with other proposed interpretation for the area) will begin before the end of the year. Removal of the signs was part of the development but they had also been vandalised and were looking very sad by the time they were removed. We're still not sure if the trail will remain as an isolated product or whether the information will be incorporated into a larger interpretation plan for the Port waterfront.” Visit for more details re the Jervois Basin Ships' Graveyard Maritime Heritage Trail.


A series of events have been held around the state in 2009 to mark the 150th anniversary of the wreck of the Admella. A dawn vigil was held in Port Adelaide at 5.30am on 5th August in memory of the SS Admella, which left Port Adelaide at that time (5.30am) on that day (5th August) in 1859. The ill-fated steamship was sailing to Melbourne but ran aground on Carpenter Rocks the next day (6th August) with the loss of 89 lives (including would-be rescuers). The 150th anniversary of the wreck of the Admella was also commemorated in Port Adelaide. It was commemorated at the The Navigator sculpture (an Admella Memorial), which is located at the Queen’s Wharf end of Timpson St, Port Adelaide. The sculpture The Navigator had been relocated there and that was unveiled for the ceremony. A few photos of the The Navigator have been posted at According to the web page found at, the Admella Commemoration Advisory Committee has recently taken possession of a large scale model of the S.S. Admella on behalf of the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum. According to the web page found at,
timber salvaged from Beachport’s Jetty has been used to construct a series of interpretive markers which (have now been) installed along the South East coastline to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the wreck of the SS Admella. For further details about the Admella, visit .

Saturday, August 22, 2009

ER Sterling

Not a shipwreck! In 1883, the Lord Woleseley (or Wolseley, Wolesley, or Wolsely) was built as a 4-masted 2577-gross ton iron ship. She was launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 21st July 1883 . She later became the Columbia, Lord Wolsely* (1904), Everett G. Griggs and E.R. Sterling.

* Hence some of the confusion over spellings.

In 1927, enroute from Port Adelaide to Britain, she met with a series of accidents. On 4th July 1927, she lost her main and mizzen masts in a gale whilst she was north of the Falkland Islands but she continued her voyage. On 4th September 1927, she was again dismasted, this time during a hurricane. She lost her foremast and the chief officer (First Mate?) was killed. On 15th October 1927, she managed to reach the port of St. Thomas in the West Indies. There were no repair facilities available there so she was towed from the West Indies to London, England by tug. After 286 days at sea, she reached the River Thames, England as a floating shambles. She was so badly damaged that she was not repaired but sold to shipbreakers for £4,000. She had been broken up by 1928.