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Emergency Air Systems

The solution to preventing injury from a failed surface air supply while diving is simple but it costs money — carry an accessory emergency air source and regulator. The money so spent on this life saver may well be your best investment ever!

A suitable emergency air source converts a panic ascent into a leisurely trip to the surface. Compared to the overall cost of the diving, boat and other equipment, the cost is relatively small.

Please ensure your accessory air source has a scuba cylinder of the appropriate size for the maximum depth you're diving to. You should plan to have enough air for around 15 minutes of breathing on the ascent with a decompression stop if necessary. Smaller all-in-one air regulators generally do not contain enough gas for a controlled ascent, although they are definitely far better than no spare air at all.

The Scuba Doctor recommends a triple-redundant air supply system should be used while hookah diving. The primary air supply is a low pressure (LP) hookah compressor. The secondary is the diver carried bailout or emergency air system. Finally, in an emergency requiring additional time for diver extraction, there should be a scuba cylinder topside, suitably configured so that it can be used to provide air to the hookah diver.

Please read Introduction to Hookah Diving for more information about things you need to consider with a hookah diving setup.


Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Boat access Boat access

Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Ships Graveyard Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steel Hulled Steamship | Max Depth: 54 m (177 ft) — Graveyard

© Unknown

The Buninyong was a popular passenger vessel in her time operating on the Melbourne to Sydney run.

The Buninyong shipwreck lies with her bow facing toward Barwon heads at a depth of 54 m (177 ft), and is a popular dive for mixed gas divers. There are two larger boilers and also a smaller one towards the stern. The bridge is still intact but has one of the exhaust stacks lying across it.

Bass Strait Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any shore or boat dive in Bass Strait on Victoria's coastline. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-in-bass-strait before diving or snorkelling this site.

Buninyong History

Built in 1883 by Laird, Purdie and Co in Barrow-in-Furness, England, the Buninyong was a steel-hulled two-masted vessel. She had an overall length of approximately 279.9 ft (85 m), beam 38.1 ft (12 m), and draught 11.5 ft (3.51 m) with a displacement weight of 1,883 t (2,076 s-ton). She was fitted with what were then the latest improvements and had a service speed of 16 knots.

On her maiden voyage to Australia the Buninyong carried a large number of migrants from Great Britain. She was then put into the interstate service, and for many years carried passengers and cargo along the eastern coast, with Melbourne as her terminal port. During the Western Australian gold rush she often journeyed between Brisbane and Freemantle.

Her passenger accommodation becoming obsolete, in 1913 the Buninyong was refitted as a cargo vessel and ended as a collier. After a career spanning more than 40 years, the Buninyong was withdrawn from service and stripped of her fittings

Scuttling the Buninyong

Buninyong Scuttling
Buninyong Scuttling
© Unknown

The old steamer Buninyong sailed on her last trip early on the morning of Thursday 11 February 1926. The tug Minah (Captain MacBain) arrived at Port Melbourne from Williamstown, and shortly after 2 am the tow was begun. The marine growths on the hull of the Buninyong impeded her progress, and though favourable weather was encountered a speed of only three and a half knots could be maintained.

The Buninyong passed The Heads, through which she had often travelled in her prime. The two vessels continued to a spot chosen for the burial-ground of the Buninyong six miles south-west of Point Lonsdale, and arrived there by 2 pm.

The first explosion opened a hole 2 ft in diameter, but two other charges were fixed to hasten the sinking. These were set off in No. 2 hold at 2:35 pm, and the ship began to sink by the stern. At 3 pm the poop was under the water, and, filling quickly, she, at last, began to slide astern, while her bow went up into the air till it seemed as if she would turn right over. Then she dived, stern first, into 36 fathoms of water, and in five minutes floating spars and timber dislodged by the explosions were all that could be seen of the vessel.

The last man to leave the doomed vessel after the final fuse had been lit was Tom Mooney, a member of the crew of the Minah. The Buninyong had previously been in the hands of the shipbreakers, and all her engines and fittings had been removed, with only the bare shell remaining.

The Buninyong is the second largest vessel lying in the Ships' Graveyard. (Only the Milora is bigger.)

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Buninyong, and
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Buninyong.

Heritage Warning: Any shipwreck or shipwreck relic that is 75 years or older is protected by legislation. Other items of maritime heritage 75 years or older are also protected by legislation. Activities such as digging for bottles, coins or other artefacts that involve the disturbance of archaeological sites may be in breach of the legislation, and penalties may apply. The legislation requires the mandatory reporting to Heritage Victoria as soon as practicable of any archaeological site that is identified. See Maritime heritage. Anyone with information about looting or stolen artefacts should call Heritage Victoria on (03) 7022 6390, or send an email to

Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country
Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes the coastline of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-east, the Bellarine Peninsula, and down to Cape Otway in the south-west. We wish to acknowledge the Wathaurong as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Bunjil the Creator Spirit of this beautiful land, who travels as an eagle, and Waarn, who protects the waterways and travels as a crow, and thank them for continuing to watch over this Country today and beyond.


Buninyong Location Map

Latitude: 38° 20.224′ S   (38.337072° S / 38° 20′ 13.46″ S)
Longitude: 144° 31.041′ E   (144.517342° E / 144° 31′ 2.43″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-28 15:36:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Rotomahana, 2,520 m, bearing 40°, NE
Steel Hulled Steamship, 2076 ton.
Built: Barrow-in-Furness, UK, 1883.
Scuttled: 11 February 1926.
Victorian Ships' Graveyard, Bass Strait.
Depth: 50 to 54 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.


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