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Outside Port Phillip Ships Graveyard Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Iron Steamer and Coal Hulk | Max Depth: 65 m (213 ft) — Graveyard

© Unknown

The Werfa shipwreck lies in Bass Strait and is considered to be one of the Victorian Ships' Graveyard wreck dives.

There are many swim throughs on the shipwreck. The stern is quite distinct with iron rectangles. You can go down to the stern to investigate the rudder which is fully intact.

Werfa Shipwreck History — Built in 1883

© Unknown

The Werfa was an iron steamer of Units: unknown unit type given, built in 1883, by Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co. Ltd, at Hawdon, Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK, with an overall length of 216 ft (66 m), a beam of 30.2 ft (9.2 m) and draught of 15.5 ft (4.72 m).

Originally a steam collier owned by Wefa Steamship Company Ltd. of Cardiff, Wales. In 1898, the Werfa arrived in Freemantle, Western Australia. In 1899, the Werfa was owned and operated by Bellambie Coal Co., trading between Newcastle and Sydney. The Werfa was purchased by McIlwraith, McEacharn Ltd, of Melbourne, and converted to a coal hulk in 1914.

On 5 August 1925, the visiting American destroyer, USS MacDonough, sank the Werfa in Victoria Dock, as the American Fleet left Melbourne.

Werfa Sinking — Scuttled 20 March 1929

The Werfa was raised eventually prepared for scuttling. On 20 March 1929, the tug Minah left the Workshops Jetty Williamstown with the Werfa in tow, bound for Bass Strait. The Werfa was finally scuttled in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard.

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

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

Traditional Owners — This dive site does not lie in the acknowledged traditional Country of any first peoples of Australia.


Werfa Location Map

Latitude: 38° 21.380′ S   (38.356327° S / 38° 21′ 22.78″ S)
Longitude: 144° 34.039′ E   (144.567317° E / 144° 34′ 2.34″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-28 05:43:33 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Leeuwin, 561 m, bearing 325°, NW
Iron Steamer | Coal Hulk, 862 ton.
Built: Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK, 1883.
Scuttled: 20 March 1929.
Victorian Ships' Graveyard, Bass Strait.
Depth: 62 to 65 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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