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Victorian Ships Graveyard Wreck Dives

Victorian Ships' Graveyard

South of Melbourne there is a Ships' Graveyard. It's located 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) east of Torquay's Fisherman's Beach through to Point Lonsdale. There are 46 known wrecks to choose from. They consist of tugs, dredges, barges, lighters, coastal freighter, World War One submarines, a paddle steamer plus a patrol boat. Many of these vessels were stripped down and scuttled by an explosive charge or an opened valve cock, and many remain fairly intact to this day.

There are two areas that make up Victoria's Ships' Graveyard:

  1. Outer Heads Area: An undocumented area outside Port Phillip Heads used between 1900 and 1925. It was the lack of dicipline in the use of this area that caused an official area to be created. Back in the day they would take hulks to be scuttled out to the area, open the sea cocks and set them adrift, sometimes even ablaze. The result was some vessels drifted and ended up all over the place. The hulk of the 567-ton barque Norwester ended up on the popular tourist beach at Portsea in November 1928. Public outcry at such mishaps saw the introduction of sea dumping legislation.
  2. Commonwealth Area No. 3: This is the designated Victorian zone for sea dumping of obsolete vessels. Proclaimed in Beaches, Fishing Grounds and Sea Routes ACT 1932, this is the official Ships' Graveyard. Area #3 is 6 kilometres in diameter and ranges in depth from 40 to 60 metres and is located approximately 10 kilometres south west of Barwon Heads.
Victoria's Ships' Graveyard
Victoria's Ships' Graveyard
© Scuttlebutt Press

These vessels were decommissioned from the early 1900s through to 1999 and range in depth from 30 metres (98 feet) to 82 metres (269 feet). Penetration can be had on some wrecks, and there is little tidal current or shipping to be concerned with so wrecks can be dived at any time of the day. The main constraints are wind strength and the size of the swell.

The best reference work on these wrecks is:
"Victoria's Ships' Graveyard"
Authors: Mark Ryan, Peter Taylor & Mick Whitmore
Published: 2009 by Scuttlebutt Press
ISBN: 9780980590203
Status: Out of print.

All shipwrecks in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard are protected.
Any persons contravening the Heritage Act (1995) may face severe penalties as a result.


Alert

Wreck Dive Boat access

Historic shipwreck protected zone. Permit Required.

SS Alert is historically significant as one of the worst maritime wrecks in Victorian history, with the deaths of 15 of the 16 people on board the vessel. It is archaeologically significant as no official salvage has taken place and the ship still contains the crew and passengers? personal effects, enabling an understanding of life at sea on a coastal trading vessel. It also carried a small but varied cargo which may provide information about general coastal trading at the end of the 1800s. Further study of the hull may reveal technical details of iron shipbuilding as shipbuilders were known to deviate off ships? plans at this time. Developments in diving and scientific equipment mean Alert is scientifically significant as a subject for national and international shipwreck corrosion studies. SS Alert is a rare example of an iron coastal trading vessel that has not been officially salvaged, scuttled or looted and representative of the iron vessels engaged in coastal trade around the southern coast of Australia in the late 1800s.

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

Latitude: 38° 29.217′ S   (38.486944° S / 38° 29′ 13″ S)
Longitude: 144° 45.033′ E   (144.750556° E / 144° 45′ 2″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 04:13:52 GMT
Source: Victorian Government GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Craigburn, 10,725 m, bearing 16°, NNE
Historic shipwreck protected zone.
Permit Required.
See the Alert dive site page

Auriga

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

3 Masted Iron Barque | Max Depth: 57 metres (187 feet) — Graveyard

Auriga
Auriga
© Unknown

The Auriga was an iron barque that had previously been involved in the Australian to New Zealand trade and coal trade. It was used by the Melbourne Harbour Trust as a hulk until it was scuttled.

Built in 1869 and scuttled on 5 February 1930, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 50.1 metres (164 feet), beam 8.6 metres (28 feet) and draught 5.3 metres (17 feet) with a displacement weight of 490 tonne (540 short tons).

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

Latitude: 38° 20.771′ S   (38.346175° S / 38° 20′ 46.23″ S)
Longitude: 144° 34.210′ E   (144.570168° E / 144° 34′ 12.6″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Campana, 178 m, bearing 209°, SSW
3 mast iron barque, 540 ton.
Built: Sunderland, UK, 1869.
Scuttled: 5 February 1930.
Depth: 55 to 57 m.
See the Auriga dive site page

Batman

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 46 metres (151 feet) — Graveyard

Batman
Batman
© Unknown

Sister vessel to the Fawkner.

The armed steam hopper barge Batman and its sister ship Fawkner were operated by the Melbourne Harbour Trust, and added to the Victorian Colonial Navy in 1883 as naval auxiliary vessels. Both the Batman and Fawkner were first armed in 1885 with one six inch gun and two Nordenfelt machine guns, and their engine rooms were protected with armour plating.

Built in 1883 and scuttled on 21 May 1935, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 47.7 metres (156 feet), beam 8 metres (26 feet) and draught 3.7 metres (12 feet) with a displacement weight of 352 tonne (388 short tons).

She now lies facing north south with her bow toward the north.

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

Latitude: 38° 21.306′ S   (38.3551° S / 38° 21′ 18.36″ S)
Longitude: 144° 24.659′ E   (144.410983° E / 144° 24′ 39.54″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 04:35:30 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Dunloe, 667 m, bearing 261°, W
A steam driven iron hopper barge, 388 ton.
Built: Portsmouth, England, 1883.
Scuttled: 21 May 1935.
Depth: 42 to 46 m.
See the Batman dive site page

Bayonet

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Attack Class Patrol Boat | Max Depth: 82 metres (269 feet) — Graveyard

HMAS Bayonet (P 101)
HMAS Bayonet (P 101)
© Royal Australian Navy

The HMAS Bayonet (P 101) was an Attack class patrol boat of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). (HMAS Advance, a sister ship of the Bayonet, is tied up alongside the Maritime Museum Wharf at Darling Harbour.)

The Bayonet lies settled on the ocean floor in an upright position at a depth of 82 metres (269 feet). Around the base of the wreck steep sand ripples are testament to the strong ocean currents that rage through the area. The state of the hull is surprisingly clean with the painted water line markings on the bow still readable.

The deck sits at an average depth of 70 metres (230 feet). A hole in the fore deck marks where the forward gun once was. In the cabin and inside the wreck in general there is a substantial amount of wiring still present.

Bayonet Dive Planning

Because of its depth, the Bayonet is a Trimix dive. The protocol used by the Red October Group for their first dive on the wreck used the following conservative dive profile to reduce the inherent risk of DCS. The use of trimix requires each diver to carry four tanks. Their preferred gas mixtures for the Bayonet dive were:

  • Nitrox 30 for the travel gas, used from the surface to 30 metres during the descent and from 40 metres to 15 metres during the ascent;
  • Trimix 14/45 (14% oxygen, 45% helium) used for the bottom gas between descending past 30 metres and ascending back to 40 metres;
  • Nitrox 60 for the decompression gas to be used while ascending from 15 metres.

As an additional safety factor, a diver could choose to breathe pure oxygen in the final 15 minutes of the dive while following a Nitrox 60 decompression schedule. This strategy might further reduce the risk of DCS. Each diver should carry sufficient gas to complete the dive, using the rule of thirds, the optional oxygen bottle (100 cubic foot, 11.1 litres) being attached to the shot line at 3 metres with multiple second stage regulators.

For the initial dive Red October decided to limit their bottom time to 15 minutes. Their dive schedule was calculated with a conservatism factor of 25%, for a total in water time of 82 minutes comprising of:

  • 5 minutes to descend the shot line;
  • 10 minutes on the bottom;
  • 67 minutes to ascend the shot line and complete all the necessary decompression stops.

Dive schedules should be printed and laminated for underwater use. Dive plans for bottom times of 10, 15, 18 and 20 minutes with bail outs for loss of bottom gas, travel gas and decompression gas should be produced.

The above information is a guide only. Your dive team should make their own dive plans based on their experience and available gases and equipment.

HMAS Bayonet History and Specifications

She was laid down by Walkers Limited at Maryborough, Queensland in October 1968, launched on 6 November 1968, commissioned on 22 February 1969, and assigned for coastal patrol duties. The ship's company consisted of three officers and sixteen sailors. She was designed to travel of speeds up to 24 knots (44 kpm) and had 20 identical sister ships.

She continued her service as a patrol boat for many years. Bayonet was transferred to the Melbourne Port Division of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve on 27 March 1982 and used as a training vessel for new cadets.

HMAS Bayonet (P 101)
HMAS Bayonet (P 101)
© Royal Australian Navy

Built in 1968 and scuttled on 21 September 1999, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 32.6 metres (107 feet), beam 6.1 metres (20 feet) with a displacement weight of 150 tonne (165 short tons).

Propulsion machinery consisted of two 16-cylinder Paxman YJCM diesel engines, which supplied 3,460 shaft horsepower (2,580 kW) to the two propellers. The vessels could achieve a top speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph), and had a range of 1,200 nautical miles (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) at 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph). Main armament was a bow-mounted Bofors 40 mm gun, supplemented by two .50 calibre M2 Browning machine guns and various small arms.

Bayonet scuttling
Bayonet scuttling
© John Mitchell

Bayonet was paid off on 26 June 1988. HMAS Bayonet was to be scuttled for recreational diving in 30 metres (98 feet) of water outside Port Phillip Heads. However, a last minute decision by the Navy saw this plan abandoned for her disposal in deep water. Defence Maritime Services (DMS) staff scuttled the vessel on 21st September 1999 in deep water off Cape Schanck.

The wreck site was located on 23 December 2001 by the Red October Group, being the culmination of 12 months planning and lead up dives.

See also Wikipedia: HMAS Bayonet (P 101), Australian National Shipwreck Database: Bayonet, and Heritage Council Victoria: Bayonet.

Latitude: 38° 43.050′ S   (38.7175° S / 38° 43′ 3″ S)
Longitude: 144° 35.250′ E   (144.5875° E / 144° 35′ 15″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-11 23:56:32 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: Alert, 29,292 m, bearing 28°, NNE
ex HMAS Bayonet, Australian Navy Attack class patrol boat, 150 ton.
Built: Queensland, 1968.
Sunk: 21 September 1999.
Depth: 82 m.
See the Bayonet dive site page

Beverwijk 19

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Dredge | Max Depth: 46 metres (151 feet) — Graveyard

Beverwyk 19
Beverwyk 19
© Unknown

The Beverwyk 19 (Beverwijk 19) was built in 1912. A steam powered, steel hulled suction cutter dredge, with a displacement weight of 319 tonne (352 short tons), it was bought to Australia in the 1950s to carry out various dredging projects in Port Phillip.

After 51 years of service, the steam powered dredge Beverwijk 19 was towed through the Heads and scuttled on 7 May 1963 in the Ships Graveyard, Commonwealth Area No.3, Bass Strait.

Beverwyk 19 Scuttling
Beverwyk 19 Scuttling
© Unknown

The Beverwyk 19 lies upside down with her bow pointing toward Barwon Heads. Site has collapsed and the wreck is generally unstable, but there is a large boiler, plus a prop showing, and the stern is upright. The large wagon wheels of the dredge machinery are still prominent features. The suction pipe is still prominent on the bow section as is a lot of her pumping gear.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Beverwijk 19, and Australian National Shipwreck Database: Beverwijk 19.

Latitude: 38° 21.120′ S   (38.352° S / 38° 21′ 7.2″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.171′ E   (144.419517° E / 144° 25′ 10.26″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 01:28:50 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Fawkner, 519 m, bearing 157°, SSE
A steam powered, steel hulled suction cutter dredge, 319 ton.
Built: 1912.
Scuttled: 7 May 1963.
Depth: 42 to 46 m.
See the Beverwijk 19 dive site page

Birch Grove

Barque, Lighter

Built in 1856 and scuttled on 8 February 1932, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 41.67 metres (137 feet), beam 8.6 metres (28 feet) and draught 5.7 metres (19 feet) with a displacement weight of 470 tonne (518 short tons).

Location: Nobbies, Phillip Island

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Birchgrove.


Brunette

Wreck Dive Boat access

Iron Barque, Coal Hulk | Max Depth: 70 metres (230 feet) — Graveyard

The Brunette was built in 1859 at Deptford, UK and originally named Pride of the West. In January 1892 the Brunette's days as a deep water square rigger were over and she was converted to a coal hulk. After 54 years of service, the former barque Brunette was towed out to sea and scuttled in the ship's graveyard in Juy 1913.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 43 metres (141 feet), beam 7.7 metres (25 feet) and draught 4.8 metres (16 feet) with a displacement weight of 349 tonne (385 short tons).

Found in January 2006 by the Southern Ocean Exploration group.

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

Latitude: 38° 22.341′ S   (38.372351° S / 38° 22′ 20.46″ S)
Longitude: 144° 32.006′ E   (144.533428° E / 144° 32′ 0.34″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: John Nimmo, 2,213 m, bearing 62°, ENE
3 mast, iron barque, coal hulk, 385 ton.
Built: Deptford, UK, 1859.
Scuttled: July 1913.
See the Brunette dive site page

Buninyong

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Iron Hulled Steamship | Max Depth: 54 metres (177 feet) — Graveyard

Buninyong
Buninyong
© Unknown

The Buninyong was a popular passenger vessel in her time operating on the Melbourne to Sydney run. Later she was converted to a cargo vessel. After a career spanning more than 40 years, the Buninyong was withdrawn from service, stripped of fittings and scuttled in the Ships' Graveyard on 11 February 1926.

Built in 1883 by Laird, Purdie and Co in Barrow-in-Furness, England, the Buninyong had an overall length of approximately 85.3 metres (280 feet), beam 11.6 metres (38 feet) and draught 6.2 metres (20 feet) with a displacement weight of 1,883 tonne (2,076 short tons).

Buninyong Scuttling
Buninyong Scuttling
© Unknown

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

She now lies with her bow facing toward Barwon heads at a depth of 54 metres (177 feet), 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 in tact but has one of the exhaust stacks lying across it.

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

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 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 06:32:03 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Rotomahana, 2,520 m, bearing 40°, NE
SS Buninyong, Iron hulled steamship, 2076 ton.
Built: Barrow-in-Furness, UK, 1883.
Scuttled: 11 February 1926.
Depth: 50 to 54 m.
See the Buninyong dive site page

Bunyip

Wreck Dive Boat access

Steam Driven Iron Dredge | Max Depth: 58 metres (190 feet) — Graveyard

Bunyip
Bunyip
© Unknown

After working as a dredge for 42 years, the Bunyip was converted into a lighter. In 1954, while loaded with wool, the vessel blew ashore on the sea wall at Princes Pier, breaking its back. The following year it was towed to the Ships' Graveyard and scuttled on 13 April 1955.

Built in 1879 by W. Simons and Co, in Refrew, Scotland, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 48.9 metres (160 feet), beam 8.6 metres (28 feet) and draught 3 metres (9.8 feet) with a displacement weight of 287 tonne (316 short tons).

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

Latitude: 38° 22.305′ S   (38.371758° S / 38° 22′ 18.33″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.563′ E   (144.426057° E / 144° 25′ 33.81″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 03:05:26 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: D McLennan, 716 m, bearing 58°, ENE
Steam driven, iron dredge/lighter, 317 ton.
Built: Renfrew, Scotland, 1879.
Scuttled: 13 April 1955.
Depth: 58 m.
See the Bunyip dive site page

Burke

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 50 metres (164 feet) — Graveyard

Burke
Burke
© Unknown

The Burke, and sister vessel Wills, were built by the South Australian Government in Adelaide in 1884. They were purchased by the Melbourne Harbor Trust in 1889. Powered by twin compound steam engines, the hopper barge Burke worked in dredging operations around Port Phillip for nearly 50 years before being withdrawn from service. The Burke was scuttled in the Ships' Graveyard on 23 September 1935.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 39 metres (128 feet), beam 9 metres (30 feet) and draught 2.9 metres (9.5 feet) with a displacement weight of 313 tonne (345 short tons).

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

Latitude: 38° 20.999′ S   (38.349987° S / 38° 20′ 59.95″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.982′ E   (144.433037° E / 144° 25′ 58.93″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 03:16:59 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Euro, 500 m, bearing 19°, NNE
Steam hopper barge, 345 ton.
Built: Adelaide, South Australia, 1876.
Scuttled: 23 September 1935.
Depth: 50 m.
See the Burke dive site page

Campana

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

3 Masted Barque, Coal Hulk | Max Depth: 58 metres (190 feet) — Graveyard

Campana
Campana
© Unknown

Built in 1875 as a three masted sailing ship by R. and J. Evans, in Liverpool, United Kingdom, the SV Campana was purchased by the Melbourne-based shipping company McIlwraith, McEacharn Ltd, for use as a coal hulk. After outliving this use, the vessel was scuttled in the Ships Graveyard on 30 July 1927.

The Campana now sits in 58 metres (190 feet) of water and the bow steelworks are in-tact and provide easy penetration and multiple swim through locations. There is plenty of fish life and the soft sponges range in colours from white to yellow to orange to purple. It feels larger than specified and is a better wreck dive than one might expect. As the wreck is on the shipping leads it is always subject to shipping.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 58.5 metres (192 feet), beam 9.7 metres (32 feet) and draught 5.9 metres (19 feet) with a displacement weight of 739 tonne (815 short tons).

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

Latitude: 38° 20.854′ S   (38.347567° S / 38° 20′ 51.24″ S)
Longitude: 144° 34.150′ E   (144.569167° E / 144° 34′ 9″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 06:50:44 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Auriga, 178 m, bearing 29°, NNE
3 masted Barque, 815 ton.
Built: Liverpool, England, 1875.
Scuttled: 30 July 1927.
Depth: 54 to 56 m.
See the Campana dive site page

Casablanca

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

3 Masted Iron Barque, Lighter | Max Depth: 57 metres (187 feet) — Graveyard

Casablanca
Casablanca
© Unknown

Built in 1868, the 3 mast Barque Casablanca operated for 80 years sailing the world including a final stint on the trans Tasman run bringing timber from New Zealand to Australia. She finished her career, like so many others, as a coal hulk in Melbourne after being converted in 1912. After serving in this capacity for Melbourne Steamships until 1950, the vessel was scuttled in the Ships' Graveyard on 16 February 1950.

Of all the sailing ships in the graveyard the Casablanca certainly has the most to offer the diver that is prepared to spend some time looking. The bow is broken off about 4 metres in, and sits pointing to the surface. The stern has a distinctive sailing ship wheel.

The masts lie off to the starboard side of the wreck. All three masts are clearly identifiable suggesting she was scuttled with all three masts intact. The forward mast is lying at a 45 degree angle out from the starboard bow. The centre mast is lying 90 degrees to thelength of the hull, also pointed towards the starboard bow. A crows nest can be found three-quarters of the way up the centre mast. The stern mast is lying approximately 45 degrees to the hull, also pointing towards the starboard side of the vessel.

The port side hull has collapsed inwards, and the starboard side has mostly disappeared into the sand. Only the original ribs of her are still protruding.

The Casablanca was built 1868 by J. Royden and Sons, in Liverpool, England. The overall length of the Casablanca was approximately 52.5 metres (172 feet), beam 8.5 metres (28 feet) and draught 5.3 metres (17 feet) with a displacement weight of 545 tonne (601 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Casablanca.

Latitude: 38° 21.777′ S   (38.362953° S / 38° 21′ 46.63″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.332′ E   (144.438867° E / 144° 26′ 19.92″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 07:19:35 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: VHB 53, 298 m, bearing 325°, NW
3 masted iron barque/lighter, 601 ton.
Built: Liverpool, England, 1868.
Scuttled: 16 February 1950.
See the Casablanca dive site page

Coogee

Wreck Dive Boat access
Advanced Open Water Rated Inside Port Phillip Bay Wreck Dive Site

Steel Hulled Steam Ship | Max Depth: 35 metres (115 feet) — Graveyard

Coogee
Coogee
© Unknown

The steamship Coogee (aka Lancashire Witch, SS Coogee, HMAS Coogee) is historically significant for its working life in a variety of roles for nearly 40 years, serving as a Port Phillip excursion steamer, Bass Strait passenger ship, cable repair ship and as a minesweeper during World War I. It is recreationally significant as one of the wrecks in the Ships' Graveyard and is a spectacular advanced dive.

Diving The Coogee

SS Coogee bow, Victoria, Australia
SS Coogee bow, Victoria
© Mary Malloy & Alan Beckhurst

The Coogee lies approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) offshore between Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads with its bow pointed towards shore (facing north) on a flat limestone and sand seabed. The bow rests on the sand at 33 metres (108 feet) and the stern is at 35 metres (115 feet) depth. The bow and stern are the most complete structures of the wreck as most of the midships section is flattened or missing — most likely due to the use of explosives to scuttle the ship.

The Coogee is a truly beautiful wreck, parts of which are blanketed by yellow zoathids, adding to its appeal and making it much loved by photographers. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore as you head from one end of the wreck to the other. Fish life abounds on the wreck and underneath the collapsed hull critters such as cuttle fish or even varied catsharks can be found. The three main areas of interest are the bow, the boilers, and the stern.

The bow is delightful with lovely, colorful growth, sponges and nice whips. It's easily recognisable, despite being on its side, and you can still see some of the original ships railings. There always seems to be a prolific amount of life around this section of the wreck.

The boilers are imposing and you can swim in between them for a bit of fun. Their sheer size is impressive and justifies a look.

The stern is very photogenic with the rudder gear protruding and everything thoroughly blanketed by yellow zoanthids. The steering quadrant, used to steer the rudder, is particularly popular with the photographers. There's even a little bit of penetration to be found and you can go under the stern and check out the rudder. There are some nice fans under the stern section to check out and usually a large-toothed beardy. In this area divers will also be able to see the remains of the two decks.


Coogee Wreck from Alan Beckhurst on Vimeo.

Coogee History

Coogee at Launceston
Coogee at Launceston
© Unknown

The Coogee was a three masted iron screw steam shipp originally built by J.L. Thompson and Sons, Sunderland as the Lancashire Witch for the New Isle of Man Steam Navigation Company for service between Liverpool and the Isle of Man.

She was purchased by Huddart Parker in 1888 and renamed SS Coogee to operate in the Melbourne to Geelong trade. After a brief period on this run, she was placed in the Bass Strait passenger service, where in 1903, the Coogee was involved in a collision with the Italian barque Fortunato Figari. The sailing ship's bowsprit raked the Coogee's deck, flattening the mast, bridge and funnel. The captain and one of the crewmen who were on the bridge were killed. After repairs, the Coogee returned briefly to the Bass Strait passenger service before returning to the Melbourne to Geelong excursion route.

Coogee Painting
Coogee Painting
© Unknown

She was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy converted to be an armed patrol vessel and minesweeper, then commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy on 20 May 1918 as HMAS Coogee. She served during the later stages of the First World War as a minesweeper and armed patrol vessel in Bass Strait.

She was returned as the SS Coogee to her owners in 1919, before being chartered by the Telegraph Department in 1921 to repair damage to the Bass Strait cable. The Coogee returned to the Port Phillip excursion trade but was eventually laid up.

Coogee Scuttling
Coogee Scuttling, 27 February 1928
© Unknown

The Coogee was sold for scrap in 1927, her engines removed, and she was scuttled outside Port Phillip on 27 February 1928 using explosive charges. However the engine bed and intact boilers can be seen amidships. Hatches can be seen in the middle of the ship on the centre line.

The overall length of the Coogee was approximately 68.5 metres (225 feet), beam 9.2 metres (30 feet) and draught 4.1 metres (13 feet) with a displacement weight of 691 tonne (762 short tons).

See also Wikipedia: HMAS Coogee,
Heritage Council Victoria: SS Coogee,
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Coogee, and
Dive Information Sheet: SS Coogee (1887-1928) (Adobe PDF | 276.15 KB).

Latitude: 38° 18.421′ S   (38.307022° S / 38° 18′ 25.28″ S)
Longitude: 144° 34.306′ E   (144.571767° E / 144° 34′ 18.36″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 13:18:20 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: J5 Yellow Submarine, 503 m, bearing 212°, SSW
SS Coogee, Steam ship, 762 ton.
Built: Sunderland, UK, 1887.
Scuttled: 27 February 1928.
Depth: 28 to 34 m.
Dive only on: SWF, SWE, Ebb, Flood.
See the Coogee dive site page

Courier

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Slack Water Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steel Hulled Steam Ship | Max Depth: 42 metres (138 feet) — Graveyard

Courier
Courier
© Unknown

The steel hulled steamer Courier (aka SS Courier) spent 40 years carrying passengers on Port Phillip. She now lies in 42 metres (138 feet) of water, upright on sand, with her bow facing south. She is an accessible dive to deep-trained recreational divers.

Diving The Courier

As with many of the wrecks in the Ships' Graveyard, the hull has mostly collapsed. The bow and stern sections are lying over to starboard and are the best preserved parts of the hull. The foredeck still retains a considerable amount of planking, a few deck fittings and some railing on the starboard side. This deck area is quite large and is an impressive sight, standing approximately seven metres off the bottom.

Courier stern, Victoria, Australia
Courier stern, Victoria
© Mary Malloy & Alan Beckhurst

Immediately behind this, the hull has totally collapsed, leaving the main deck hatch coaming sitting on the bottom. Behind this are the two boilers sitting in line. On days with good visibility the dark shape of the stern can just be seen in the distance, although to see this close up requires a separate dive.

The stem is also an impressive sight, but it is less structurally intact than the bow. The shape of the vessel's counter stern is still recognisable, and just forward of this, there is the remains of some superstructure.

The wreck of the Courier is an oasis in the middle of a sandy desert. She is exposed to strong nutrient rich currents and has become an anchor point for many temperate water flora and fauna. Brightly coloured multiformed sponges, anemones, hydrozoans, ascidians and soft corals including masses of bright yellow zoanthids can be seen encrusting any exposed wreckage from bow to stern.

Schooling butterfly sea perch, common bullseye, pairs of oldwives and the occasional blue devilfish have taken up residence and occasionally large crays can be seen at home under the massive boilers.

The Courier lies in the area of the ships pilot boarding zone, so is subject to shipping.


SS Courier Wreck from Alan Beckhurst on Vimeo.

Courier History

New Year Cellebrations on the Courier
New Year Cellebrations on the Courier
© Allan Green Collection

The SS Courier was built by C.S. Swan and Hunter in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, and launched in 1887. The SS Courier was built for Huddart Parker Ltd for the Port Phillip excursion trade. She arrived in Melbourne at the end of 1887 to begin running in the Melbourne-Geelong trade in January 1888. The Courier was later also used as an armed auxiliary of the Victorian Navy.

In 1927 the Courier was sold to Melbourne ship-breakers and stripped of valuable fittings. On 29 March 1928 she was scuttled north-east of the Ships' Graveyard.

The overall length of the Courier was approximately 67.3 metres (221 feet), beam 9.1 metres (30 feet) and draught 3.8 metres (12 feet) with a displacement weight of 660 tonne (728 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Courier,
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Courier, and
MAAV: S.S. Courier 1887-1928.

Latitude: 38° 19.488′ S   (38.324797° S / 38° 19′ 29.27″ S)
Longitude: 144° 34.920′ E   (144.582008° E / 144° 34′ 55.23″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-12 14:15:18 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Lost Reef, 860 m, bearing 0°, N
SS Courier, Steel hulled steam ship, 728 ton.
Built: Wallsend-on-Tyne, England, 1887.
Scuttled: 29 March 1929.
Depth: 37 to 42 m.
Dive only on: SWF, SWE.
See the Courier dive site page

D McLennan

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Driven Dredge | Max Depth: 58 metres (190 feet) — Graveyard

D McLennan
D McLennan
© Melbourne Harbor Trust

The D. McLennan was a Steel Steam Dredge built in Leyden, Holland in 1912. Purchased by the Melbourne Harbour Trust and brought into commission in 1925. The dredge was capable of dredging to 59 feet and it worked on various dredging projects within the port until it was condemned in 1949. After being stripped of all items of value it was scuttled in the Ships Graveyard on 8 June 1949.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 50.5 metres (166 feet), beam 8.9 metres (29 feet) and draught 2.4 metres (7.9 feet) with a displacement weight of 385 tonne (424 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: D McLennan.

Latitude: 38° 22.104′ S   (38.368392° S / 38° 22′ 6.21″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.983′ E   (144.433055° E / 144° 25′ 59″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Bunyip, 716 m, bearing 238°, WSW
Steam driven dredge, 424 ton.
Built: Leyden, Holland, 1912.
Scuttled: 8 June 1949.
Depth: 58 m.
See the D McLennan dive site page

Don Diego

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Iron Barque, Coal Hulk | Max Depth: 72 metres (236 feet) — Graveyard

Don Diego
Don Diego
© Unknown

The Don Diego was a 3 masted iron barque built in 1855 in Greenock, Scottland and scuttled on 26 May 1916.

She appears to have been well stripped and was probably only a hulk on scuttling. Bow and stern rise around 4 metres (13 feet) from the seabed with the amidships lying flat.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 44.4 metres (146 feet), beam 7.4 metres (24 feet) and draught 4.2 metres (14 feet) with a displacement weight of 290 tonne (320 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Don Diego.

Latitude: 38° 23.726′ S   (38.395433° S / 38° 23′ 43.56″ S)
Longitude: 144° 32.055′ E   (144.534253° E / 144° 32′ 3.31″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Brunette, 2,568 m, bearing 358°, N
Iron Barque, Coal Hulk, 320 ton.
Built: Greenock, UK, 1855.
Scuttled: 26 May 1916.
Depth: 70 to 72 m.
See the Don Diego dive site page

Dunloe

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

3 Masted Iron Barque, Coal Hulk | Max Depth: 46 metres (151 feet) — Graveyard

Dunloe
Dunloe
© Geoff Nayler

On its last voyage under sail, the full-rigged ship Dunloe sailed from Sydney Heads to Port Phillip Heads in just 40 hours. It was then converted into a coal hulk and served in this capacity from 1909 to 1947 when, at the age of 77, it was scuttled in the Ships' Graveyard.

Built in 1870 and scuttled on 2 July 1947, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 55 metres (180 feet), beam 9.3 metres (31 feet) and draught 5.6 metres (18 feet) with a displacement weight of 639 tonne (704 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Dunloe.

Latitude: 38° 21.360′ S   (38.356° S / 38° 21′ 21.6″ S)
Longitude: 144° 24.205′ E   (144.403417° E / 144° 24′ 12.3″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Batman, 667 m, bearing 81°, E
3 masted iron barque, 704 ton.
Built: Glasgow, Scotland, 1870.
Scuttled: 2 July 1947.
Depth: 44 to 46 m.
See the Dunloe dive site page

Edward Northcote

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 52 metres (171 feet) — Graveyard

Edward Northcote
Edward Northcote
© Unknown

The Edward Northcote was built in 1912 as a steamship and later converted into a hopper, number 405.

Built in 1911 and scuttled on 6 November 1952, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 48.7 metres (160 feet), beam 8.6 metres (28 feet) and draught 3.8 metres (12 feet) with a displacement weight of 449 tonne (495 short tons).

Lots of the wreck still remains and the props are still on the wreck.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Edward Northcote.

Latitude: 38° 21.369′ S   (38.356157° S / 38° 21′ 22.17″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.799′ E   (144.429983° E / 144° 25′ 47.94″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Wareatea, 422 m, bearing 101°, E
Steel steam hopper barge, 495 ton.
Built: Paisley, UK, 1911.
Scuttled: 6 November 1952.
Depth: 52 m.
See the Edward Northcote dive site page

Euro

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Tug | Max Depth: 50 metres (164 feet) — Graveyard

Euro
Euro
© Unknown

The steam tug Euro was owned by the Adelaide Steamship Company for most of its working life before being sold to Howard Smith's Australian Steamships, based in Melbourne. After half a century of use, it was stripped of fittings and scuttled in the Ships' Graveyard on 10 June 1948.

Built in 1897 at Dundee, Scotland the overall length of the vessel was approximately 39.6 metres (130 feet), beam 6.9 metres (23 feet) and draught 3.7 metres (12 feet) with a displacement weight of 233 tonne (257 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Euro.

Latitude: 38° 20.744′ S   (38.345738° S / 38° 20′ 44.66″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.094′ E   (144.434905° E / 144° 26′ 5.66″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified by Ian Scholey, VSAG)
Nearest Neighbour: H.C. Piggot, 434 m, bearing 66°, ENE
Steel screw steamer tug, 257 ton.
Built: Dundee, Scotland, 1897.
Scuttled: 10 June 1948.
Depth: 44 to 50 m.
See the Euro dive site page

Fawkner

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Driven Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 46 metres (151 feet) — Graveyard

Fawkner
Fawkner
© Unknown

Sister vessel to the Batman.

The armed steam hopper barge Fawkner and its sister ship Batman were operated by the Melbourne Harbour Trust, and added to the Victorian Colonial Navy in 1883 as naval auxiliary vessels. Both the Fawkner and Batman were first armed in 1885 with one six inch gun and two Nordenfelt machine guns, and their engine rooms were protected with armour plating.

Built in 1883 and scuttled on 20 May 1935, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 46.8 metres (154 feet), beam 8 metres (26 feet) and draught 3.7 metres (12 feet) with a displacement weight of 352 tonne (388 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Fawkner.

Latitude: 38° 21.378′ S   (38.3563° S / 38° 21′ 22.68″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.310′ E   (144.421833° E / 144° 25′ 18.6″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:11 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Beverwijk 19, 519 m, bearing 337°, NNW
Steam driven hopper barge, 388 ton.
Built: Renfrew, Scotland, 1883.
Scuttled: 20 May 1935.
Depth: 44 to 46 m.
See the Fawkner dive site page

Helen

3 Masted Barque, Coal Hulk — Graveyard

Helen
Helen
© Bob Leek

The barque Helen had a career spanning over 70 years. It was a trader, immigrant ship and whaler, but in its later years was reduced to a coal hulk. In 1938 it was towed through Port Phillip heads and cast ashore near Cape Schank to be broken up by the sea.

Built in 1864 and scuttled in March 1938, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 41.2 metres (135 feet), beam 7.7 metres (25 feet) and draught 4.2 metres (14 feet) with a displacement weight of 310 tonne (342 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Helen.


H.C. Piggot

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Driven Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 48 metres (157 feet) — Graveyard

H C Piggot
H C Piggot
© Unknown

The H.C. Piggot (or H.C.Pigott) was a steam driven steel hopper built in 1912 by Fleming and Ferguson, Paisley Scotland.

Scuttled on 14 October 1935, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 48.8 metres (160 feet), beam 8.6 metres (28 feet) and draught 3.8 metres (12 feet) with a displacement weight of 449 tonne (495 short tons).

The hull is listing onto her port side. The superstructure is still recognizable and there is a large anchor sitting on the bow. The prop shafts are visible but there are no props.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: H.C. Piggot.

Latitude: 38° 20.651′ S   (38.344183° S / 38° 20′ 39.06″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.368′ E   (144.439467° E / 144° 26′ 22.08″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Euro, 434 m, bearing 246°, WSW
Steam driven steel hopper barge, 495 ton.
Built: Paisley, Scotland, 1911.
Scuttled: 14 October 1935.
Depth: 46 to 48 m.
See the H.C. Piggot dive site page

Hume

Steam Tug — Graveyard

Hume
Hume
© Unknown

The Hume steam tug was built in 1922 in Dordrecht, Holland and bought by the Melbourne Harbor Trust in 1925.

Built in 1922 and scuttled in the 1950's, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 18 metres (59 feet), beam 4.7 metres (15 feet) and draught 2 metres (6.6 feet) with a displacement weight of 43 tonne (47 short tons).


Hygeia

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Paddle Steamer | Max Depth: 62 metres (203 feet) — Graveyard

Hygeia
Hygeia
© Unknown

The Hygeia was a steel Paddle steamer built in 1890 by Napier, Shanks and Bell in Yoker (Glasgow). Her owners were the Bay Steamers Ltd, of Melbourne. A comfortable Port Phillip Bay steamer, she could carry 1600 passengers at speeds of up to 20 knots, with promenade decks, saloons, dining rooms, bars and a barber's shop.

Built in 1890 and scuttled on 10 June 1932, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 91.5 metres (300 feet), beam 9.8 metres (32 feet) and draught 3.4 metres (11 feet) with a displacement weight of 894 tonne (985 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Hygeia.

Latitude: 38° 21.017′ S   (38.350275° S / 38° 21′ 0.99″ S)
Longitude: 144° 33.633′ E   (144.560548° E / 144° 33′ 37.97″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Leeuwin, 346 m, bearing 127°, SE
Steel Paddle steamer, 986 ton.
Built: Yorker (Glasgow), Scotland, 1890.
Scuttled: 10 June 1932.
Depth: 58 to 62 m.
See the Hygeia dive site page

John Nimmo

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Steam Dredge | Max Depth: 68 metres (223 feet) — Graveyard

John Nimmo
John Nimmo
© Unknown

The John Nimmo was a steel steam dredge built in 1887 for the Melbourne Harbour Trust. In 1893 she was involved in collision with vessel Eddystone in Corio Bay and in the same year and place she was involved in another collision with the vessel Melbourne.

Scuttled on 10 August 1931, the overall length of the vessel was approximately 69.6 metres (228 feet), beam 14.2 metres (47 feet) and draught 4.7 metres (15 feet) giving a displacement weight of 1,097 tonne (1,209 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: John Nimmo.

Latitude: 38° 21.787′ S   (38.363123° S / 38° 21′ 47.24″ S)
Longitude: 144° 33.355′ E   (144.555922° E / 144° 33′ 21.32″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Malaita, 1,052 m, bearing 336°, NNW
Steel steam dredge, 1209 ton.
Built: Footscray, Victoria, 1887.
Scuttled: 10 August 1931.
Depth: 66 to 68 m.
See the John Nimmo dive site page

Kingswear

Collier — Graveyard

The Kingswear in the earlier part of its career had been involved coastal trade in Queensland (not mentioned in Parsons, Australian Coastal Passenger Ships) and at some point arrived in Sydney.

The Kingswear was towed from Sydney to Melbourne by the tug Eagle in October 1906, where she was transformed into a floating pumping station. In this role the Kingswear was used in reclamation works at the West Melbourne Swamp, where silt from the old river bed was pumped into the swamp measuring 10 acres in extent. As the water pumped with the silt formed mini-lakes more solid material was required, and clay cut from the Coode Canal Banks was deposited in the river bed for pumping and filling. At the time this was described as "welcome news to bayside municipal councils and yachtsmen, who have for years been complaining that the silt deposited in the bay is eventually washed onto the foreshores" (Age 22/1/1907).

The Kingswear was described as having been in a "rotten state" with a prodigious amount of marine fouling on her hull when finally scuttled on 14 April 1915.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Kingswear.


Leeuwin

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Passenger and Cargo Steamer | Max Depth: 62 metres (203 feet) — Graveyard

Leeuwin (Julia Percy)
Leeuwin (Julia Percy)
© Unknown

The Leeuwin, originally named the SS Julia Percy, and was built in Whiteinch, Scotland for the Victorian western district steamship trade to the order of the Warrnambool Steam Packet Company. Ronald Parsons states that, after being sold to Howard Smith in 1896:
"Howard Smith used the vessel in the Queensland coastal trades. Sold in 1903, the ship was transferred to Western Australia as her owner had obtained a local mail contract. In 1906 she was sold to Melbourne S.S. Co. and renamed Leeuwin, but continued in the Western Australian coastal run for some time until converted into a hulk in 1910, as a result of damage caused when she was driven against the jetty at Dongara during a gale." (Parsons, 1979: 82)

Dismantled and sunk in Bass Strait on 28 December 1934 (Argus 29 December 1934). Date of survey: 1925 (Melbourne).

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 66.7 metres (219 feet), beam 7.38 metres (24 feet) and draught 3.96 metres (13 feet) giving a displacement weight of 580 tonne (639 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Leeuwin.

Latitude: 38° 21.129′ S   (38.35215° S / 38° 21′ 7.74″ S)
Longitude: 144° 33.823′ E   (144.563717° E / 144° 33′ 49.38″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Hygeia, 346 m, bearing 307°, NW
Iron screw passenger steamer, 580 ton.
Built: Whiteinch, Scotland, 1976.
Scuttled: 28 December 1932.
Depth: 62 m.
See the Leeuwin dive site page

Malaita

Wreck Dive Boat access

After colliding with the South Melbourne baths on 17 Dec 1926,she was put back into service but was soon withdrawn again and scuttled. Vessel was formerly called ANTILLA. Engines from EXCELSIOR, circa 1919. 4 Bulkheads cemented, 1 deck, water ballast. Engines: Q.4 Cy15", 21", 31" & 43" - 30", 101 NHP. Built under Special Survey. Schooner Rigged, elliptical stern, clincher built.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Malaita.

Latitude: 38° 21.267′ S   (38.354444° S / 38° 21′ 16″ S)
Longitude: 144° 33.067′ E   (144.551111° E / 144° 33′ 4″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: Hygeia, 944 m, bearing 60°, ENE
Steel steamship, 940 ton.
Built: Grangemouth, UK, 1893.
Scuttled: 20 November 1928.
See the Malaita dive site page

Milora

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Collier | Max Depth: 43 metres (141 feet) — Graveyard

Milora
Milora
© Unknown

The Milora was a Steel screw steamer built in Williamstown Dockyard, Victoria, in 1920 as the Emita for the Commonwealth Government Line of Melbourne. On 21 September 1934, she was inward bound from Newcastle with coal when she ran ashore inside Port Phillip Heads near Queenscliff. She was refloated after most of her cargo had been unloaded and towards Williamstown.

She was eventually sold for scrap and after dismantling was towed out to Bass Strait by the tug James Paterson and scuttled in the ships graveyard, off Port Philip heads, 8 March 1935. She now lies facing North/South (bow South).

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 100.89 metres (331 feet), beam 14.6 metres (48 feet) and draught 7.19 metres (24 feet) giving a displacement weight of 3,347 tonne (3,689 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Milora.

Latitude: 38° 21.102′ S   (38.351705° S / 38° 21′ 6.14″ S)
Longitude: 144° 23.378′ E   (144.389632° E / 144° 23′ 22.68″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 04:52:30 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Dunloe, 1,293 m, bearing 111°, ESE
Steel steam ship, 3347 ton.
Built: Williamstown, Victoria, 1920.
Scuttled: 8 March 1935.
Depth: 38 to 43 m.
See the Milora dive site page

Norwester

Wreck Dive Boat access

The Norwester went ashore at London Bridge, just west of Sierra Nevada. Hulked 1895.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Norwester.

Latitude: 38° 19.833′ S   (38.330555° S / 38° 19′ 50″ S)
Longitude: 144° 41.433′ E   (144.690555° E / 144° 41′ 26″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: London Bridge, 151 m, bearing 52°, NE
Iron sailing barque, 567 ton.
Built: Glasgow, Scotland, 1864.
Scuttled: 21 November 1928.
Depth: 2 m.
See the Norwester dive site page

Pioneer

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Sand Dredge | Max Depth: 50 metres (164 feet) — Graveyard

Pioneer
Pioneer
© Unknown

The SS Pioneer was a steel steam driven pump driven sand dredge. She was built in Glascow, Scotland for the Victorian Dept of Board of Works in 1905. She was scuttled on 9 March 1950.

There is limited penetration along the sides, stern and bow of the wreck and both props are both still present.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 51.8 metres (170 feet), beam 11.34 metres (37 feet) and draught 3.14 metres (10 feet) giving a displacement weight of 543 tonne (599 short tons).

See also Wikipedia: SS Pioneer (1905), and Heritage Council Victoria: Pioneer.

Latitude: 38° 20.366′ S   (38.339433° S / 38° 20′ 21.96″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.378′ E   (144.439633° E / 144° 26′ 22.68″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: Alan Beckhurst GPS (verified).
Nearest Neighbour: H.C. Piggot, 528 m, bearing 181°, S
Steel steam dredge, 543 ton.
Built: Newark, Glasgow, Scotland, 1905.
Scuttled: 9 March 1950.
Depth: 46 to 50 m.
See the Pioneer dive site page

Rotomahana

Wreck Dive Boat access
Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Bay Wreck Dive Site

Passenger and Cargo Steamer | Max Depth: 39 metres (128 feet) — Graveyard

Rotomahana
Rotomahana
© Unknown

The SS Rotomahana was completed in 1879 in Dumbarton, Scotland. Said to be the first steel hulled steamer in the world, she had a clipper bow and graceful hull. She served for many years on the Melbourne to New Zealand routes and was known as the "Greyhound of the Pacific" due to her great speed. She was scuttled on 28 May 1928.

Little other than the four massive boilers remain, although there are plenty of steel girders and other debris including the old bowsprit. Some penetration is possible between and underneath the boilers.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 90.89 metres (298 feet), beam 10.73 metres (35 feet) and draught 7.22 metres (24 feet) giving a displacement weight of 1,777 tonne (1,959 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Rotomahana.

Latitude: 38° 19.191′ S   (38.319857° S / 38° 19′ 11.49″ S)
Longitude: 144° 32.167′ E   (144.536123° E / 144° 32′ 10.04″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 05:01:56 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: J1 Deep Submarine, 1,588 m, bearing 74°, ENE
Steel ship, had both sail and steam power, 1777 ton.
Built: Dumbarton, Scotland, 1879.
Scuttled: 28 May 1928.
Depth: 35 to 39 m.
See the Rotomahana dive site page

Sir William McPherson

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Dredge | Max Depth: 57 metres (187 feet) — Graveyard

Sir William McPherson
Sir William McPherson
© Unknown

The Sir William McPherson was a steel dredge, built in 1912 at Kinderdijk, Holland for the Melbourne Harbour Trust. She was scuttled on 12 May 1949.

The ship has boilers at the stern which make for a nice swim through. The engine exhausts are still sitting vertical and there is a large anchor near the bow.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 48.31 metres (158 feet), beam 9.85 metres (32 feet) and draught 3.14 metres (10 feet) giving a displacement weight of 482 tonne (531 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Sir William McPherson.

Latitude: 38° 20.697′ S   (38.344957° S / 38° 20′ 41.85″ S)
Longitude: 144° 29.214′ E   (144.486898° E / 144° 29′ 12.83″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:12 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Buninyong, 2,796 m, bearing 71°, ENE
Steel dredge, 482 ton.
Built: Kinderdijk, Holland, 1912.
Scuttled: 12 May 1949.
Depth: 52 to 57 m.
See the Sir William McPherson dive site page

VHB 53

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 57 metres (187 feet) — Graveyard

The VHB-53 was a Steel hopper barge that was scuttled on 19 February 1971. There is some penetration available.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 45.7 metres (150 feet) with a beam of 5.64 metres (19 feet).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: VH B 53.

Latitude: 38° 21.645′ S   (38.360743° S / 38° 21′ 38.67″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.216′ E   (144.436935° E / 144° 26′ 12.97″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 04:27:58 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Casablanca, 298 m, bearing 145°, SE
Steel hopper barge.
Scuttled: 19 February 1971.
Depth: 52 to 57 m.
See the VHB 53 dive site page

VHB 54

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 54 metres (177 feet) — Graveyard

VHB-54
VHB-54
© Unknown

The VHB-54 was a Steel hopper barge that was scuttled on 17 December 1970. The bow and stern are in reasonable condition. There is a large cogged wheel in the midships area which was used to open the doors for the dredged material to be dumped.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 45.7 metres (150 feet) with a beam of 5.64 metres (19 feet).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: VH B 54.

Latitude: 38° 20.588′ S   (38.343138° S / 38° 20′ 35.3″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.057′ E   (144.417622° E / 144° 25′ 3.44″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 04:28:14 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Beverwijk 19, 999 m, bearing 170°, S
Steel hopper barge.
Scuttled: 17 December 1970.
Depth: 52 to 54 m.
See the VHB 54 dive site page

Victorian

Wreck Dive Boat access

Screw Steamer | Graveyard

The Victorian was dismantled and then scuttled in the Ships Graveyard, Commonwealth Area No.3, Bass Strait, on 8 May 1925.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Victorian.

Latitude: 38° 43.014′ S   (38.7169° S / 38° 43′ 0.84″ S)
Longitude: 146° 33.554′ E   (146.559233° E / 146° 33′ 33.24″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:13 GMT
Source: Unknown
Nearest Neighbour: Albert, 9,355 m, bearing 111°, ESE
SS Victorian, Steal hulled steam ship, 718 ton.
Built: Glasgow, Scotland, 1876.
Scuttled: 8 May 1925.
See the Victorian dive site page

Wareatea

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Passenger and Cargo Steamer | Max Depth: 48 metres (157 feet) — Graveyard

Wareatea
Wareatea
© Unknown

The Wareatea was built in 1883 in Paisly, Scotland. It was first used as a collier in New Zealand, and later in the Bass Strait trade carrying passengers and freight. She ran between Melbourne and the North coast of Tasmania between Federation in 1901 and the end of WWII in 1945. After decommissioning, the stripped down hulk was scuttled on 16 March 1945.


Wreck of the Wareatea, by Jane Headley.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 51.88 metres (170 feet), beam 7.96 metres (26 feet) and draught 3.47 metres (11 feet) giving a displacement weight of 511 tonne (563 short tons).

The Wareatea has great life on it with nice sponge growth and schools of fish around. While the bow is somewhat twisted and flat to the seabed, the stern stands up and has the prop and rudder still in position.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Wareatea.

Latitude: 38° 21.416′ S   (38.35694° S / 38° 21′ 24.98″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.083′ E   (144.43472° E / 144° 26′ 4.99″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:13 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Edward Northcote, 422 m, bearing 281°, W
Steel hulled steamship, 511 ton.
Built: Paisley, Scotland, 1883.
Scuttled: 16 March 1945.
Depth: 48 m.
See the Wareatea dive site page

Werfa

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Subject to Shipping Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Cargo Carrier and Coal Hulk | Max Depth: 65 metres (213 feet) — Graveyard

Werfa
Werfa
© Unknown

The Werfa was an iron steamer built to carry coal. Built in Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK in 1883 for the Werfa Steam Ship Company Ltd of Cardiff, Wales. On 5 August 1925 the visiting American destroyer, USS MacDonough, sank her in Victoria Dock, as the American Fleet left Melbourne. She was raised and finally scuttled on the 20 March 1929.

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

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 65.8 metres (216 feet), beam 9.2 metres (30 feet) and draught 4.72 metres (15 feet) giving a displacement weight of 570 tonne (628 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Werfa.

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 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:13 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Leeuwin, 561 m, bearing 325°, NW
Iron sailing steam lighter, 862 ton.
Built: Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK, 1883.
Scuttled: 20 March 1929.
Depth: 62 to 65 m.
See the Werfa dive site page

White Pine

Wreck Dive Boat access
Outside Port Phillip Bay Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Passenger and Cargo Carrier then Coal Hulk | Max Depth: 57 metres (187 feet) — Graveyard

White Pine
White Pine
© Unknown

Originally built as the Quathlamba, in 1879 at Aberdeen, Scotland she was a three masted iron barque. She was registered at the Hazel Craig in 1905, operating between Australia and New Zealand. Purchased by the Melbourne Harbor Trust in 1916, she was converted into a coal lighter and named the White Pine. Later she was converted into a coal hulk. The White Pine was scuttled on 14 January 1947 in the ship's graveyard.

The bow is mostly intact and there are some very prominent boilers.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 51.18 metres (168 feet), beam 8.87 metres (29 feet) and draught 4.15 metres (14 feet) giving a displacement weight of 467 tonne (515 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: White Pine.

Latitude: 38° 21.979′ S   (38.366322° S / 38° 21′ 58.76″ S)
Longitude: 144° 25.047′ E   (144.417452° E / 144° 25′ 2.83″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:13 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: Bunyip, 963 m, bearing 128°, SE
Iron sailing lighter, 467 ton.
Built: Aberdeen, Scotland, 1879.
Scuttled: 14 January 1947.
Depth: 48 to 57 m.
See the White Pine dive site page

Wills

Wreck Dive Boat access

Steam Driven Hopper Barge | Max Depth: 55 metres (180 feet) — Graveyard

Wills
Wills
© Unknown

Sister vessel to the Burke.

The Wills and Burke, were built in Adelaide in 1884. They were purchased by the Melbourne Harbor Trust in 1889. The Wills was scuttled on 22 August 1935.

The overall length of the vessel was approximately 39.0 metres (128 feet), beam 9.14 metres (30 feet) and draught 2.9 metres (9.5 feet) giving a displacement weight of 345 tonne (380 short tons).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Wills.

Latitude: 38° 21.071′ S   (38.351183° S / 38° 21′ 4.26″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.976′ E   (144.4496° E / 144° 26′ 58.56″ E)
Datum: WGS84 Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-02-03 02:30:13 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: H.C. Piggot, 1,178 m, bearing 311°, NW
Iron steam hopper barge, 345 ton.
Built: Adelaide, South Australia, 1876.
Scuttled: 22 August 1935.
Depth: 55 m.
See the Wills dive site page

Other wrecks in Victoria's Ships' Graveyard include:

  • Mosquito
  • Palace
  • Rip
  • Rob Roy
  • Verulam

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.

If you don't understand the differences between the different ways coordinates are given, plus how different datum come into play, you might find the article GPS Conversions by Lloyd Borrett (100 Kb, 5 pages, Adobe PDF) a useful read. It describes the problems associated with locating dive sites using a GPS receiver.

GPS latitude explained


Scuba Doctor Dive Map KML File

In the true spirit of making it easy to obtain, utilise and share the information, you can now Download/view the Scuba Doctor Dive Map GPS Marks (KML file | 217.82 KB | 14-Feb-2019) in the Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth and Google Maps.

Some marine GPS units can import the information from a KML file. For others you can use use a file translate program (e.g. GPSBabel) to convert the KML file into an import file format (e.g. GPX) supported by your GPS unit.


Please Help Us To Correct GPS Marks and Add More Melbourne Dive Sites

If you have have information about other dive sites you'd be happy to see added to the information available here, or any corrections and/or updates to the diving site GPS marks listed here, please feel free to Contact Us.

Copyright in photographs and other materials used here remains with their artists and authors. We are happy to acknowledge appropriate copyrights should they be made known to us.

Bass Strait Warning

If you intend to go scuba diving and/or boating in Bass Strait you must be appropriately trained and qualified. Always analyse the weather forecasts and make your own mind up about what you consider to be safe conditions. We accept no responsibility or liability for the accidental or intentional misuse of information portrayed, or misadventure resulting from its use.

We recommend you don't go diving in Bass Strait if any of the following conditions are likely to occur within a 24 hour period:

  • A Strong Wind Warning (or above - Gale, Storm, Hurricane) has been issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for Port Phillip Bay and/or Bass Strait (Central Coast);
  • Wind strength exceeding 20 knots (37 kpm) from the direction: NW, NNW, N, W, NE, NNE;
  • Wind strength exceeding 15 knots (28 kpm) from the direction: SW, SSW, S;
  • Wind strength exceeding 10 knots (19 kpm) from the direction: SE, SSE, E;
  • Swell Height exceeding 2 metres (6.6 feet);
  • Any swell exceeding 1 metre (3.3 feet) with a period less than 5 seconds;
  • A weather change is due which may cause any of the above conditions to occur.

Scuba diving is an inherently dangerous activity and appropriate training and experience in scuba equipment, decompression diving, deep diving, mixed gas diving and wreck penetration diving are all mandatory skills for safely diving the wrecks of Bass Strait.

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