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Melbourne
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The great thing about Melbourne diving is that it offers reefs and wrecks for all levels of experience.  There are wrecks in every depth band from those almost breaking the surface, through to the HMAS BAYONET at 82m | 270ft.  Similarly the old Yarra River running through heads offers wall and terraced diving from 10-100m | 33-330ft and is suitable for all levels of experience from Open Water to Trimix. 
 
The local marine environment is characterised by rocky terraces with kelp beds, sponge and soft coral growth. Notable local species include cuttlefish, sea spiders, eastern blue devil fish, crayfish, seven gill sharks, and seals. 
 

Dive Sites

Ex HMAS Canberra

Depth (30m | 98ft) |
Australian Navy guided missile frigate, scuttled 2009 as a dive site.

 

  • Constructed 1978 in Seattle, USA.
  • Guided missile frigate, electric gas turbines to single controllable pitch propeller, speed 30 knots.
  • Tonnage 4, 200, length 138.1 meters, beam 14.3 meters.
  • Missile launcher, 76mm rapid fire gun, 2x triple torpedo tubes, phalanx close in weapons.
  • Scuttled as a dive site on 4 October 2009 off Ocean Grove, Victoria.


HMAS Canberra was an Adelaide Class guided missile frigate built in 1978.  Her main armament comprised one 76mm rapid fire gun, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, standard surface-to-air missiles, the Phalanx close in weapons system and two triple mounted anti-submarine torpedo tubes.

Her average ship’s company was 186, however, this increased to around 210 on those occasions when two Seahawk helicopters were embarked.

HMAS Canberra was primarily used as long-range escorts fulfilling multiple roles including air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, interdiction and reconnaissance. They were also capable of countering simultaneous air, surface and sub-surface threats.

From October 1992 to April 1993, HMAS Canberra deployed to the Red Sea to support the enforcement of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iraq, conducting interception and boarding operations to stop the flow of illegal oil out of Iraq.

The HMAS Canberra operated regionally in peace monitoring, combatting illegal fishing in Australia’s remote fishing zones,  and on anti-people smuggling operations to the north.

From March to July 2002, HMAS Canberra deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation SLIPPER, Australia’s contribution to the War on Terror.

HMAS Canberra was the first Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigate to be decommissioned.  She was scuttled at 2pm on 4 October 2009 in 28 meters of water off Ocean Grove, Victoria to create an artificial reef and diving site.

Reef - Lonsdale Wall

Depth (30m | 98ft) |
Point Lonsdale side of wall running through the heads, the ancient Yarra River bed from 18-60m | 60-195ft.
The Point Lonsdale side of the massive 1km wall running through Port Phillip Heads, dropping from the reef at 18 meters depth to the bottom of the ancient Yarra River bed at 60 meters depth.

The wall steps down in levels every 6-9 meters, with overhangs and bomboras at each step.  The wall has fantastically dense and colourful sponge and soft-coral growth, supporting a huge variety of macro species and temperate water reef fish.

In particular watch for huge numbers of bright yellow sea spiders, and dozens of juvenile and adult eastern blue devil fish. 

Best done towards the slack high tide when the water is at its cleanest, and the current flow through the heads has slackened.

Foggy Reef
Depth: 8 to 30 meters
The southern most end of Lonsdale Wall.  As you head south the wall curves to the east, where you will find a large old admiralty anchor embedded in the wall.  Directly opposite the anchor are 2 old cannon resting on, and unfortunately occasionally covered by, the sand.

The Cave
Depth: 22 to 60 meters
Truck sized cave at 30 meters depth located at an outside bend of the ancient Yarra River.

Wayne’s World
Depth: 18 to 60 meters
Towards the northern end of Lonsdale Wall where the wall turns and runs east.  Vertical walls with splits and overhangs.

Easter Bommie and Sue’s Grotto
Depth: 16 to 27 meters

Sue’s Grotto is the northern most feature of Lonsdale Wall, where the seabed is enclosed in a bend in the ancient Yarra River.  Easter Bommie rests within the grotto.  The seabed is littered with cannonball sized round rocks.

Reef - Nepean Wall

Depth (30m | 98ft) |
Point Nepean side of wall running through Port Phillip Heads following ancient Yarra River from 18-60m | 60-195ft.
The Point Nepean side of the massive 1km wall running through Port Phillip Heads, dropping from the reef at 18 meters depth to the bottom of the ancient Yarra River bed at 60 meters depth.

The wall has overhangs, spits, pinnacles and other structural features, all decorated with fantastically dense and colourful sponge and soft-coral growth, supporting a huge variety of macro species and temperate water reef fish.  In particular watch for huge numbers of bright yellow sea spiders, and dozens of juvenile and adult eastern blue devil fish. 

Best done towards the slack high tide when the water is at its cleanest, and the current flow through the heads has slackened.  Can also be done on the slack low tide, so that the incoming high will drift you back into the bay.

Wild Side
Depth: 18 meters

Plateau dive on top of Nepean Wall, which is great for crayfish.  The adjacent walls drop down to 100 meters depth at the deepest section of the ancient Yarra River bed.

The plateau is subject to strong tidal current flows and vulnerable to swell moving through the heads.  Can only be done on slack tide in calm seas.

SV Eliza Ramsden

Depth (18m | 59ft) |
Wreck of iron three mast barque constructed 1874 wrecked 1875
  • Constructed 1874 in Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Three mast sailing barque, iron construction.
  • Tonnage 415, length 46.2 meters, beam 8.2 meters, draft 4.6 meters.
  • Wrecked during a voyage from Melbourne to Newcastle on 24 July 1875, struck Corsair Rock and later sank in South Channel, Port Philip.

Constructed in 1874 for Mr Samuel Ramsden of Melboure, with no expense spared.  The nearly new barque Eliza Ramsden, outward bound to Newcastle in a fair wind and under the command of an experienced skipper, struck Corsair rock at about 7pm on 24 July 1975.

She immediately fell over and was forced onto the inner portion of the reef where she stuck fast.  Her sails were furled and the boats lowered.  The lifeboat out of Queenscliff evacuated the crew with their personal effects.  Captain Steuart returned to the Eliza Ramsden on the on the steamer Warhawk. 

On arriving at Corsair Rock at high tide, the Warhawk was hailed by fishermen who explained the Eliza Ramsden had refloated and was drifting up the south channel.  She had not gone far and had settled on the bottom with her topgallant mast above water about one mile North East of Point Nepean.

References
“Wreck of the Eliza Ramsden” Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, 9 August 1875, page 119.

SS Gambier

Depth (12m | 39ft) |
Wreck of iron steamer, cargo vessel, constructed 1874 wrecked 1891
  • Constructed 1874 in Dumbarton, United Kingdom.
  • Single screw steamer, iron construction.
  • Tonnage 1578, length 85.3 meters, beam 9.8 meters, draft 7.3 meters.
  • Wrecked during a voyage from Newcastle to Melbourne on 28 August 1891, collided with the SS Easby and sunk between Queenscliff and Popes Eye Shoal.

The Gambier was inbound to Melbourne carrying cargo and with 82 passengers and crew aboard.  On entering the western channel a little after midnight she was traveling at 7 knots.  The collier Easby, traveling at 10 knots struck the side of the Gambier near the funnel.  The Easby penetrated more than a third of the Gambier’s beam.

While the Easby drifted off, the Gambier sunk within minutes, leaving her passengers and crew in the water.  Twenty-one people died. 

The wreck is close to Popes Eye, and was flattened with explosives and so is periodically covered by shifting sands. 

References
“The Gambier – Easby Collision. Further Details” Daily Telegraph (Launceston), 31 August 1891 page 3.

George Kermode TSS

Depth (20m | 66ft) |
Steam bucket dredge, constructed 1914 scutted 1976 as an artificial reef.
  • Constructed 1914 in Paisley, United Kingdom.
  • Twin screw steamer, iron construction, bucket dredge.
  • Tonnage 803, length 70.1 meters, beam 13.4 meters, draft 5.2 meters.
  • Scuttled 1 April 1976 as an artificial reef off Pyramid Rock, Phillip Island.


On 10 October 1941, the Melbourne Harbour Trust Commission purchased the steam dredge Sir William Mathews, described as a suction dredge, from the Western Australian Government.  In fact the dredge was a bucket dredge. 

After refit the dredge was renamed the George Kermode and commenced operations in Victoria on 22 June 1942.

She was scuttled as an artificial reef by the Department of Conservation, Forrests and Lands on 1 April 1976.

The wreck is upside down rising from 20 meters to 12 meters depth, and fairly well intact with lots of penetration.

HMAS Goorangai

Depth (15m | 49ft) |
Navy auxiliary minesweeper with bow gun, wrecked 1940 in collision with troopship MV Duntroon.
  • Constructed 1919 in Newcastle, New South Wales.
  • Twin screw steamer, steel construction, triple expansion boiler.
  • Tonnage 223, length 35.7 meters, beam 6.7 meters, draft 4.2 meters.
  • Wrecked travelling from Queenscliff to Portsea on 20 November 1940, struck by MV Duntroon.

Originally a trawler, the Goorangai was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy for service as an auxiliary minesweeper, and fitted with a 12 pounder bow gun.

On the night of 20 November 1940, the HMAS Goorangai was torn wide open amidships by the bows MV Duntroon.  The Duntroon was a troopship carrying a full complement, and by war orders had been proceeding without lights and could not stop to render assistance.

The HMAS Gooringai sank in two minutes with the loss of 24 lives.   Since the wreck is located within South Channel, she was flattened with explosives in January 1941.  The remains of the wreck rise from the sand at 15 to 12 meters depth. 

Only 6 bodies were ever recovered and so the HMAS Gooringai is a recognised war grave.

References
“Big hole torn in Goorangai”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 November 1940, page 10.

SV Hurricane

Depth (14m | 46ft) |
Three mast iron clipper constructed 1853 wrecked 1869.
  • Constructed 1853 in Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Three masted clipper, iron construction.
  • Tonnage 1198, length 65.2 meters, beam 9.1 meters, draft 6.1 meters.
  • Wrecked travelling from Liverpool to Melbourne on 22 April 1869, settled after striking Corsair Rock.

The three mast clipper Hurricane was constructed in Glasgow in 1853 as one of the first iron hulled sailing vessels.  In her day the Hurricane was one of the fastest clippers on the Australian run.  Her maiden voyage from Glasgow to Melbourne was completed in 87 days, and the return voyage to London took only 83 days. During her heyday she should make the trip in a little over seventy days.

In 1856 she was refitted with an auxiliary steam driven screw and continued operating.  Her final voyage was from Liverpool to Melbourne with 2000 tons of general cargo and 19 passengers.  On 21 April 1869 she struck Corsair Rock while entering Port Phillip Heads.  She tied to make Capel Bay but settled off Arthurs Seat.  Her passengers and crew were rescued by the tug Titan.

The Hurricane entered Port Phillip Heads under full sail early in the morning, making about 11 knots up the channel.  She grazed Corsair Rock, but the action was slight and had little apparent effect until the pilot was informed of water rapidly coming in through the hawser holes.  An eye witness described a volume of water almost as thick as a man’s thigh coming in with the force of an immense cataract.

As the ship settled, two boats were got out and an orderly evacuation took place.  The bow settled forty-five minutes before the stern ports reached the waterline, and the ship sank straight down.

The ships agents, Messrs Dickson, Williams and Co of Queen Street, had been informed by telegraph that the Hurricane was floundering, and sent the steam tug Titan from Queenscliff to investigate.   The Titan was the first vessel on the sea and took the Hurricane’s passengers and crew aboard.

The wreck was blasted as a navigational hazard and is now spread over a large area.  The stern is the most prominent feature and rises three meters from the sand. 

References
“The wreck of the Hurricane”, Gippsland Times, 27 April 1869, page 3.

MY Isis Wreck

Depth (10m | 33ft) |
Wooden motor yacht, constructed 1892 wrecked in gale 1932
  • Constructed 1892 in Sydney, Australia.
  • Two masted motor yacht, wood construction.
  • Tonnage 71, length 25.7 meters, beam 4.1 meters, draft 2.9 meters.
  • Torn from mooring at Frankston and swept onto reef 10 May 1932.

On Thursday 10 March 1932 the Isis was moored at Frankston with her owner, captain and engineer sleeping aboard.  At 12:30am gale force winds between 60 and 70 miles an hour dragged her anchor and, the crew being unable to weight anchor under the strain, dashed her stern first onto a sandbank 300 meters from the beach at Mornington Road Frankston.  By 2:15am the Isis began to break up and the three men took to the boat.

Only the boiler and engine remain above the sand, although there are signs of some structure remaining below the sand.

References
“Yacht Isis total wreck” The Advertiser (Adelaide), 11 March 1932, page 19.

HMAS J1 submarine wreck

Depth (38m | 125ft) |
Wreck of J1 submarine, served in British Navy for WW1, gifted to Australia and scuttled 1926.
  • Constructed 1915 at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, England.
  • Diesel-electric submarine, speed 9.5 knots submerged 19.5 knots surfaced, range 4,000 miles at 12 knots, complement 5 officers 40 sailors.
  • Tonnage 1,820 (submerged) 1,210 (surfaced), length 84 meters, beam 7 meters, draft 4.9 meters.
  • Scuttled off Barwon Heads on 26 May 1926.

The J Class submarines were designed by the British admiralty early in WW1 partly out of a desire for submarines with sufficient surface speed to work with the fleet, and partly in response to what later proved to be false rumours of German submarines able to manage surface speeds of up to 22 knots.  Seven J Class boats were built, their unique feature being a triple drive shaft.

HMS J1 commissioned in the Royal Navy on 15 March 1916 under the command of Commander N.F. Laurence DSO RN and was allocated to the 11th Submarine Flotilla based at Blyth, Northumberland.
On the evening of 4 November 1916, two German submarines U-22 and U-30 had grounded in thick fog off Bovbjerg Light off Denmark.  The German 4th Destroyer Flotilla was ordered to render assistance, the battle cruisers Seydlitz and Moltke with additional destroyers were ordered to the area of the Horn Reefs in support, and four battleships of the 3rd Battle Squadron (König, Grosser Kurfürst, Kronprinz and Markgraf) also put to sea.

Without knowledge of these events, J1 had sailed from Blyth to patrol off the Horn Reef.  J1 had dived at dawn on 5 November and was patrolling submerged in a circle.  The weather conditions were bad for submarine operations. Visibility was only about two miles and a heavy swell made depth keeping at periscope depth difficult except by excessive use of speed.

At 1150, about 30 miles south west of the Horn Reefs, he sighted four enemy battleships two miles astern. After coming about into an attack position, at 1208 four Mk VII torpedoes were fired with a five degree spread at the third ship in the line.  The first torpedo hit Grosser Kurfürst aft, damaging her rudders and causing her to take in some 300 tons of water. Kronprinz was hit on the port bow. Both ships reached harbour under their own steam, but required several months in dock.

At 1530 on 19 March 1917, the British destroyer Orpheus, unaware that J1 was friendly, closed at high speed and fired four rounds at short range at J1, narrowly missing the bridge.

Over 15 to 24 June 1917, J1, J2, J4 and J5 were among the submarines used in Operation BB, a joint operation using both destroyers and submarines to flush out enemy submarines either leaving for patrol or returning to their bases from the Atlantic. It was planned to force enemy submarines to dive through certain areas heavily patrolled by destroyers so that they would be on the surface while passing through adjacent areas patrolled by British submarines. During the period of Operation BB, 19 German submarines passed in or out of the North Sea.  There were 26 sightings and 11 attacks made, eight by destroyers and three by submarines.

At 1445 on 20 June 1917, J1 saw an enemy submarine surface three miles away and fired four torpedoes as the range widened, all missed. J1 then surfaced and gave chase at full speed opening fire with her gun. She claimed two hits before the enemy was lost in poor visibility.

On 9 November 1918 while on patrol off Gibraltar, J1 attacked an enemy submarine unsuccessfully with torpedoes, then on the surface with her gun before the enemy boat dived, and finally with depth charges.  The attack is notable because of the unusual use of depth charges by one submarine against another.  J1 received two internal chutes for dropping depth charges as the result of an idea by her commanding officer.  The depth charges were lowered by stokers into the chutes, the lid was then clamped down, a lever was pulled and the charges dropped out. The boat had to be going at full speed at the time to avoid damage to herself.

In 1918, after the end of WW1, the Admiralty presented the six remaining boats of the J Class to the Australian Government. All the submarines commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth on 25 March 1919, as tenders to the submarine depot ship HMAS Platypus.

HMAS J1 had an uneventful Australian service, little of which was spent at sea before being sent into with her sisters into Reserve at Westernport on 12 July 1922.  On 26 February 1924, J1 was sold to the Melbourne Salvage Syndicate. The hull was sunk three miles off Barwon Heads on 26 May 1926.

References
“Mothership and her five charges arrive in port” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1919, page 13, 14.

HMAS J2 submarine wreck

Depth (39m | 128ft) |
Wreck of J2 submarine, served in British Navy for WW1, gifted to Australia and scuttled 1926.
  • Constructed 1915 at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, England.
  • Diesel-electric submarine, speed 9.5 knots submerged 19.5 knots surfaced, range 4,000 miles at 12 knots, complement 5 officers 40 sailors.
  • Tonnage 1,820 (submerged) 1,210 (surfaced), length 84 meters, beam 7 meters, draft 4.9 meters.
  • Scuttled off Barwon Heads on 1 June 1926.

The J Class submarines were designed by the British admiralty early in WW1 partly out of a desire for submarines with sufficient surface speed to work with the fleet, and partly in response to what later proved to be false rumours of German submarines able to manage surface speeds of up to 22 knots.  Seven J Class boats were built, their unique feature being a triple drive shaft.

HMS J2 commissioned in the Royal Navy on 1 June 1916 under the command of Lieutenant Commander A.M. Winser RN and was allocated to the 11th Submarine Flotilla based at Blyth, Northumberland.
Over 15 to 24 June 1917, J1, J2, J4 and J5 were among the submarines used in Operation BB where both destroyers and submarines were used to flush out enemy submarines either leaving for patrol or returning to their bases from the Atlantic. It was planned to force enemy submarines to dive through certain areas heavily patrolled by destroyers so that they would be on the surface while passing through adjacent areas patrolled by British submarines. During the period of Operation BB, 19 German submarines passed in or out of the North Sea.  There were 26 sightings and 11 attacks made, eight by destroyers and three by submarines. J2 was allocated to an area extending west south west from the Norwegian coast off Stavanger but saw nothing of the enemy.

At 0740 on 7 July 1917, J2 was on the surface when she sighted an enemy submarine also on the surface four kilometers away.  Four torpedoes were fired.  No explosion was heard but a column of black smoke appeared near the enemy’s conning tower before the enemy disappeared.  At the time a hit was not allowed, though U-99, which according to German records was in the area at that time, did not return from patrol.
At 0800 on 2 August 1917, J2 was on the surface when she sighted shipping, dived and commenced an attack run.  The ships were identified as British, so the attack was aborted and the J2 bottomed off in 38 meters, silent and stationary.  Nevertheless, destroyers gained contact and attacked with depth charges.  Several charges came close and the J2 incurred some damage before the surface ships lost contact and left by 1530. 

In 1918, after the end of WW1, the Admiralty presented the six remaining boats of the J Class to the Australian Government. All the submarines commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth on 25 March 1919, as tenders to the submarine depot ship HMAS Platypus.

Like her sisters, HMAS J2 had an uneventful Australian service, little of which was spent at sea before being sent into with her sisters into Reserve at Westernport on 12 July 1922.  On 26 February 1924, J2 was sold to the Melbourne Salvage Syndicate.

The hull was sunk three miles off Barwon Heads on 1 June 1926. The explosive charges used to scuttle the vessel caused her to break just behind the conning tower, and split into two sections.  Penetration through the broken section is possible.

The wreck lies uncomfortably close to the main shipping channel through Port Phillip Heads, so care must be taken on the ascent and all divers must carry an SMB and know how to deploy it from depth. 

References
“Mothership and her five charges arrive in port” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1919, page 13, 14.

HMAS J4 submarine wreck

Depth (27m | 89ft) |
Wreck of J4 submarine, served in British Navy for WW1, gifted to Australia and scuttled 1926.
  • Constructed 1916 at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, England.
  • Diesel-electric submarine, speed 9.5 knots submerged 19.5 knots surfaced, range 4,000 miles at 12 knots, complement 5 officers 40 sailors.
  • Tonnage 1,820 (submerged) 1,210 (surfaced), length 84 meters, beam 7 meters, draft 4.9 meters.
  • Scuttled outside Port Phillip Heads in 1927.

The J Class submarines were designed by the British admiralty early in WW1 partly out of a desire for submarines with sufficient surface speed to work with the fleet, and partly in response to what later proved to be false rumours of German submarines able to manage surface speeds of up to 22 knots.  Seven J Class boats were built, their unique feature being a triple drive shaft.

HMS J4 commissioned in the Royal Navy on 17 July 1916 under the command of Lieutenant Commander D.I. McGillevie RN and was allocated to the 11th Submarine Flotilla based at Blyth, Northumberland.
Over 15 to 24 June 1917, J1, J2, J4 and J5 were among the submarines used in Operation BB where both destroyers and submarines were used to flush out enemy submarines either leaving for patrol or returning to their bases from the Atlantic. It was planned to force enemy submarines to dive through certain areas heavily patrolled by destroyers so that they would be on the surface while passing through adjacent areas patrolled by British submarines. During the period of Operation BB, 19 German submarines passed in or out of the North Sea.  There were 26 sightings and 11 attacks made, eight by destroyers and three by submarines. J4 saw nothing of the enemy.

In 1918, after the end of WW1, the Admiralty presented the six remaining boats of the J Class to the Australian Government. All the submarines commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth on 25 March 1919, as tenders to the submarine depot ship HMAS Platypus.

Like her sisters, HMAS J4 had an uneventful Australian service, little of which was spent at sea before being sent into with her sisters into Reserve at Westernport on 12 July 1922.  On 26 February 1924 J4 was sold to the Melbourne Salvage Syndicate.

On 10 July 1924 she sank at Williamstown Dockyard wharf but was raised on 7 December 1927, and scuttled outside Port Phillip Heads in 1927.

During its scuttling the bow section broke off.  Penetration is possible through several large entrances.

References
“Mothership and her five charges arrive in port” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1919, page 13, 14.

HMAS J5 submarine wreck

Depth (36m | 118ft) |
Wreck of J5 submarine, served in British Navy for WW1, gifted to Australia and scuttled 1926.
  • Constructed 1915 at Devonport Naval Dockyard, England.
  • Diesel-electric submarine, speed 9.5 knots submerged 19.5 knots surfaced, range 4,000 miles at 12 knots, complement 5 officers 40 sailors.
  • Tonnage 1,820 (submerged) 1,210 (surfaced), length 84 meters, beam 7 meters, draft 4.9 meters.
  • Scuttled off Barwon Heads on 4 June 1926.
  •  
The J Class submarines were designed by the British admiralty early in WW1 partly out of a desire for submarines with sufficient surface speed to work with the fleet, and partly in response to what later proved to be false rumours of German submarines able to manage surface speeds of up to 22 knots.  Seven J Class boats were built, their unique feature being a triple drive shaft.

HMS J5 commissioned in the Royal Navy on 6 May 1916 under the command of Commander C.P. Talbot RN and was allocated to the 11th Submarine Flotilla based at Blyth, Northumberland.

Over 15 to 24 June 1917, J1, J2, J4 and J5 were among the submarines used in Operation BB where both destroyers and submarines were used to flush out enemy submarines either leaving for patrol or returning to their bases from the Atlantic. It was planned to force enemy submarines to dive through certain areas heavily patrolled by destroyers so that they would be on the surface while passing through adjacent areas patrolled by British submarines. During the period of Operation BB, 19 German submarines passed in or out of the North Sea.  There were 26 sightings and 11 attacks made, eight by destroyers and three by submarines. J5 saw nothing of the enemy during the operation but on 25 June 1917 exchanged fire with an enemy submarine, neither vessel was damaged.

On 9 July 1917, J5 fired two torpedoes at an enemy submarine.  The Commander’s log recorded both shots as having missed.  However, U-86 reported 'Torpedo hit the fore part of the ship but did not explode.'
In 1918, after the end of WW1, the Admiralty presented the six remaining boats of the J Class to the Australian Government. All the submarines commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth on 25 March 1919, as tenders to the submarine depot ship HMAS Platypus.

Like her sisters, HMAS J5 had an uneventful Australian service, little of which was spent at sea before being sent into with her sisters into Reserve at Westernport on 12 July 1922.  On 26 February 1924, J5 was sold to the Melbourne Salvage Syndicate.

The hull was sunk three miles off Barwon Heads on 4 June 1926.  The wreck offers some penetration.

References
“Mothership and her five charges arrive in port” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1919, page 13, 14.

Lonsdale Wrecks

Depth (10m | 33ft) |
Remains of many wrecks claimed by Lonsdale reef over 150 years.

Lonsdale Reef has claimed a large number of wrecks over the years.  You can find remnants of these wrecks, including slate and coal cargoes, in and around the shallow water rocks and kelp.

  • SS Black Boy
  • SS Conside
  • SV Don
  • SV Gange
  • SV George Roper
  • SV Glaneuse
  • SV Holyhead
  • MV Lorna
  • SV Nonpareil
  • Portland
  • SV Princess Royal
  • SV Sacramento
  • MV Spray
  • SV Thetis
  • SV WJ Taylor
  • SV Yarrow
  •  

SS Black Boy
Constructed 1857 in Greenock, United Kingdom.
Single screw steamer, iron construction.
Length 24.8 meters, draft 2.4 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef on 4 July 1883, carrying a cargo of salvage from the George Roper (40-60 tons of softgoods, paper, general merchandise).

SS Conside
Constructed 1848 in South Shields, United Kingdom.
Twin screw steamer, iron construction.
Tonnage 368, length 32.2 meters, beam 8. 2 meters, draft 5 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Sydney to Melbourne on 15 September 1852, carrying a cargo of hardware, wine and general cargo.

SV Don
Constructed 1864 in Don River, Tasmania.
Sailing schooner, wood construction.
Length 22 meters, draft 2.2 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from River Mersey to Melbourne on 2 July 1875, carrying ballast.

SV Gange
Constructed 1885 in Lussinpiccolo, Austria.
Three masted sailing barque, iron construction.
Tonnage 1071, length 46.3 meters, beam 9.2 meters, draft 5.1 meters.
Wrecked, ran aground, on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from London to Melbourne on 22 July 1887, carrying a cargo of cement, rails, sulphur and bolts.

SV George Roper
Constructed 1882 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Four masted sailing barque, iron construction.
Tonnage 2104, length 92 meters, beam 11.9 meters, draft 7.2 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne on 4 July 1883, carrying  cargo of dynamite, paper and whisky.

SV Glaneuse
Constructed 1870 in La Seyne, France.
Sailing barque, iron construction.
Tonnage 482, length 43.8 meters, beam 8.32 meters, draft 5 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef, drifted ashore while awaiting pilot, during a voyage from Charente, France to Melbourne on 2 October 1886, carrying a cargo of brandy, wine, sardines and pigs.

SV Holyhead
Constructed 1889 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Four masted sailing barque, iron construction.
Tonnage 2336, length 89.6 meters, beam 12.8 meters, draft 7.5 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne on 12 February 1890, carrying a cargo of iron nails, slates, liquor, spirits, and general cargo.

MV Lorna
Constructed 1947 in Geelong, Victoria.
Diesel, iron construction.
Length 6.7 meters, draft 0.8 meters.
Wrecked, split in two by big seas on a fishing voyage on 30 November 1947.

SV Nonpareil
Sailing schooner, length 28.4 meters, draft 2.7 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Adelaide to Melbourne on 13 October 1857, carrying a cargo of flour, hay and wool.

Portland
Tonnage 1071, length 18.9 meters, draft 2.4 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Hobart to Melbourne on 14 September 1852, carrying a cargo of timber and sundries.

SV Princess Royal
Sailing barque, wrecked, ran aground, on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Hong Kong to Melbourne on 24 February 1849, carrying a cargo of tea, sugar and rice.

SV Sacramento
Sailing vessel, constructed 1850 in Sunderland, United Kingdom.
Wrecked, ran aground, on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from London to Melbourne on 27 April 1853, carrying a cargo of specie and spirits.

MV Spray
Motor vessel, length 9.7 meters, constructed in Port Fairy, Victoria.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during an 8 hour voyage outside the Heads, 17 June 1983.

SV Thetis
Constructed 1847 in Moruya River, Australia.
Sailing schooner, wood construction.
Tonnage 95, length 20.2 meters, draft 2.9 meters.
Wrecked, ran aground, on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Sydney to Melbourne on 26 May 1848, carrying a cargo of iron, lead, wire, beer, timber and foodstuffs.

SV WJ Taylor
Constructed 1884 in Toquay, Tasmania.
Sailing ketch, wood construction, length 21.3 meters, draft 1.7 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from San Remo to Melbourne on 26 December 1894.

SV Yarrow
Constructed 1851 in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Sailing barque, wood construction.
Tonnage 286, length 30.1 meters, draft 4.4 meters.
Wrecked on Lonsdale Reef during a voyage from Newcastle to Geelong on 23 August 1870, carrying a cargo of coal.

SS Uralba

Depth (18m | 59ft) |
Last wooden coal steamer constructed in Australia, built 1942 scuttled as artifical reef 1971.
  • Constructed 1942 in Tuncurry, New South Wales.
  • Single screw steamer, wood construction.
  • Length 47.1 meters, beam 11 meters, draft 2.8 meters.
  • Scuttled as an artificial reef off Carrum on 5 November 1971.

The last wooden coal burner constructed in Australia.  She was commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy as a minelayer and auxiliary boom defense.  Later the Uralba was released from military service as a coastal trader.  Eventually scuttled as an artificial reef on 5 November 1971

SV William Salthouse

Depth (14m | 46ft) |
Wooden sailing barque constructed 1824 wrecked 1841, delicate wooden remains.
  • Constructed 1824 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
  • Sailing barque, wood construction, tonnage 254.
  • Wrecked, struck reef off Point Nepean, during a voyage from Montreal, Canada to Melbourne on 28 November 1841, carrying a cargo of salted beef and pork, building materials and bottled wine.

The William Salthouse was a wooden sailing barque, wrecked on 18 November 1841 at the end of a voyage between Montreal, Canada and Melbourne.  Her cargo included salted beef and pork, building materials, and bottled wine.  The William Salthouse sank after striking a reef off Point Nepean.

The wreck was discovered by divers in 1982.  She rests 600 meters north of Pope’s Eye and appears as a 3 meter high sand dune.  The lower hull and assorted cargo are preserved under the sand.  Artificial sea grass mats have been laid around the dune to stabilise the site.  While divers can access the wreck site, it is extremely fragile and of great historical significance.

SV Albert

Depth (69m | 226ft) |
Ketch constructed 1884 wrecked on capsizing 1890.
  • Constructed 1884.
  • Ketch, 1 1/2 mast sailing vessel.
  • Tonnage 42, length 22.4 meters, beam 6.1 meters, draft 1.5 meters.
  • Capsized 13 August 1890 near Cape Shank on a voyage from Lorne to Melbourne.


The Albert capsized on 13 August 1890 on a voyage from Lorne to Melbourne, while crossing the rip near Queenscliff.

References
“Victoria” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, 15 August 1890, page 5.

SS Alert

Depth (75m | 246ft) |
Iron steamer, carried passengers and cargo, constructed 1877 floundered 1893.
  • Constructed 1877 in Renfrew, Scotland.
  • Single screw steamer, iron construction..
  • Tonnage 243, length 51.5 meters, beam 6 meters, draft 3 meters.
  • Floundered 28 December 1893 in storm between Cape Schanck and Port Phillip Heads, on a voyage between Port Albert and Melbourne.

Constructed in Scotland for Huddart Paker & Co, the SS Alert sailed to Australia with her funnel and propeller stowed as cargo.  In her working life she carried passengers and cargo between Melbourne and Geelong. 

Having replaced the SS Despatch on the Gippsland to Melbourne run, the SS Alert floundered in a storm on 28 December 1893 with the loss of 15 lives. 

References
“Wreck at the heads the SS Alert” Fitzroy City Press, 29 December 1893, page 3.

SS Coogee - Graveyard wreck

Depth (32m | 105ft) |
Steel steamer constructed 1887, requisitioned 1918 as Navy minesweeper and patrol ship, scuttled 1928.
  • Constructed 1887 in Sunderland, United Kingdom.
  • Single screw steamer, steel construction.
  • Tonnage 762, length 68.58 meters, beam 9.1 meters, draft 4.1 meters.
  • Scuttled 1928 in the Ships Graveyard outside Port Phillip Heads.

Launched 1887 as the “Lancashire Witch” for the New Isle of Man Steam Navigation Company for journeys between Liverpool and the Isle of man.  She was purchased by Huddart Parker & Co in 1888, renamed “Coogee”, and operated as a Bass Strait ferry. 

In October 1899, she transported the first Tasmanian contingent to the Boer War from Launceston to Melbourne. 

On Christmas morning 1903, the Coogee ran under the bowspirit of the barque Fortunato Figari.  The collision swept the upper decks of the Coogee clear, killing her captain and the lookout.

The Coogee was also involved in other collisions with:
- Excelsior in Port Phillip Bay (1889),
- Griper on the Yarra River (1889),
- a pilot vessel on the Yarra River (1891), and
- Bombala on the Yarra River (1914).

On 20 May 1918 the Coogee was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy and operated as a minesweeper and armed patrol vessel until 1919.

The Coogee was finally scuttled in 1928 in the Ships Graveyard outside Port Phillip Bay.

As a wreck the bow and stern sections are intact, the midsection is broken up but the boilers remain intact and proud of the bottom.  The wreck is covered in marine growth and sea tulips, and attracts boarfish, old wives, leather jacket and other reef fish.

References
“SS Coogee”, Geelong Advertiser 13 December 1910, page 3.
“Collision in Bass Straits”, Sunday Times, 27 December 1903, page 5.

SS Milora - Graveyard wreck

Depth (40m | 131ft) |
Large collier, steel steamer constructed 1921, ran aground 1934 then scutteld 1935.
  • Constructed 1921 in Williamstown, Victoria.
  • Single screw steamer, steel construction.
  • Tonnage 3347, length 100 meters, beam 14.6 meters, draft 6.6 meters.
  • Ran ashore at Barwon Heads 21 September 1934, and then scuttled 8 March 1935 in the Ships Graveyard outside Port Phillip Heads.

On 21 September 1934 the Milora ran around on the Rip inside Port Phillip Heads near Queenscliff.  She had been inward bound from Newcastle carrying 2,800 tons of coal.  On 23 September 2014, after her cargo had been jettisoned into the bay, the tugs Tooronga, James Paterson and Eagle were able to pull the Milora from the reef and escort her to Williamstown. 

References
“Milora refloated”, The Argus, 24 September 1934, page 9.

SS Rotomahana - Graveyard wreck

Depth (40m | 131ft) |
First merchant ship of mild steel constructed 1879, scuttled 1928.
  • Constructed 1879 in Dumbarton, Scotland.
  • Single screw steamer, mild steel construction, compound engine.
  • Tonnage 1727, length 90.9 meters, beam 10.7 meters, draft 7.2 meters.
  • Scuttled 28 May 1928 in the Ships Graveyard outside Port Phillip Heads.

The Rotomahana was the first merchant ship built of mild steel.  She served for many years on the Melbourne-New Zealand routes.

The Rotomahana was laid up at Melbourne in 1920, sold to shipbreakers in 1925 and stripped before her hull was eventually scuttled on 28 May 1870.

The wreck site consists of four large boilers, steel girders and other debris. 

References
“The Greyhound of the Pacific” Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) 29 May 1928, page 4.
“First Steel Vessel” The Argus (Melbourne), 3 April 1925, page 15.

VHB-54 - Graveyard wreck

Depth (40m | 131ft) |
Dumb hopper barge scuttled 1970.
Dumb hopper barge, steel construction, sister barge to the VHB-53 (57m).  Scuttled on 17 December 1970 in the ships graveyard outside Port Phillip Heads. 

The VHB-54 rests upright on the sandy bottom and there is plenty of structure to attract schooling fish and divers.

SS Courier - Graveyard wreck

Depth (42m | 138ft) |
Victorian Colonial Navy vessel, armed passenger steamer, constructed 1887 scuttled 1928.
  • Constructed 1887 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, United Kingdom.
  • Single screw steamer, iron construction, two triple expansion boilers.
  • Tonnage 728, length 67.3 meters, beam 9.1 meters, draft 3.8 meters.
  • Scuttled 29 March 1928 in the Ships Graveyard outside Port Phillip Heads.

The armed passenger steamer Courier.  One of three auxiliaries from the Victorian Colonial Navy (Courier, Batman and Fawkner) scuttled in the ships graveyard.

Built for Huddart Parker Limited for the Port Phillip excursion trade, she had a secondary role as an armed auxiliary of the Victorian Colonial Navy and was capable of mounting 14 pound Nordenfeldt guns.  She was scuttled in the ships graveyard on 28 March 1928.

The center section of the wreck has collapsed, exposing her two large triple expansion boilers.  The bow and stern sections retain some structure.  The wreck site is subject to shipping.

References
“The new excursion steamer Courier” Geelong Advertiser, 17 January 1888, page 4.

SS Batman - Graveyard wreck

Depth (44m | 144ft) |
Victorian Colonial Navy, armed steam hopper barge constructed 1883 scuttled 1935.
  • Constructed 1883 in Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
  • Single screw steamer, iron construction, barge.
  • Tonnage 388, length 14.3 meters, draft 0.9 meters.
  • Scuttled 20 May 1935 in the Ships Graveyard outside Port Phillip Heads.

One of three auxiliaries from the Victorian Colonial Navy (Courier, Batman and Fawkner) scuttled in the ships graveyard.  The armed steam hopper barge Batman (sister ship to the Fawkner) was constructed on order by the Melbourne Harbour Trust, with a reinforced bow to enable mounting of a six inch breech loading gun. 

The Batman’s voyage from the Clyde to Melbourne in January 1884 was colourful to say the least:

“on reaching Gibraltar the captain went ashore, and obtained two cases of gin, on which he got drunk. Whilst in that state the vessel steamed away from Gibraltar. On the third day the fire bars in the boiler furnaces were burned, and the steamer had to return to Gibraltar. After effecting repairs another start was made. According to Rune's evidence the captain then got worse, and ordered the first engineer, M'Leod, who was also drunk, to be lashed up. This was done by Ruhe, assisted by the second engineer and the steward. On the 6th of January, the coast of Algiers being in sight, the captain was seized with a desire to call in at a village where he said he had been once before. The vessel was headed for the land at full speed.  The first officer, seeing the danger, immediately, and without consulting the captain, who was standing by, ordered the engines full speed astern. A few seconds after the steamer touched a sand bank, but was backed off in five minutes.”

During her career the Batman was involved in collisions with the steamer Victoria on 28 April 1886 on the Yarra River; the Tasmanian trader Flora on 2 August 1906 on the Yarra River; the steamer Awaroa on 10 July 1915 on the Yarra River; and the steamer Casino on 27 August 1915 off Point Gellibrand.

References
“Grounding of the hopper barge Batman”, Illustrated Australian News, 14 May 1884, page 75.
“Collision between the Batman and the Victorian”, The Argus, 5 June 1886 page 12.
“Collision with a barge”, The Mercury (Hobart), 4 August 1906 page 3.
“Accident in Bay”, The Age, 28 August 1915 page 12.

SS Wareatea - Graveyard wreck

Depth (45m | 148ft) |
Steam passenger ferry, constructed 1883 scuttled 1945.
  • Constructed 1883 in Paisley, Scotland.
  • Single screw steamer, steel construction.
  • Tonnage 475, length 51.8 meters, beam 7.9 meters, draft 3.35 meters.
  • Scuttled 16 March 1945 in the Ships Graveyard outside Port Phillip Heads.

The SS Waratea was used as a passenger ferry and later as a cargo vessel between Melbourne to Tasmania. 

Involved in a collision with the SS Glaucus on 30 November 1907 outside Port Phillip Heads, both ships suffering minor damage.

She ran aground at Saltpan Point on the evening of 26 July 1910 and had to be refloated.

On 9 September 2912 the Wareatea was involved in a collision with lighters (barges) under tow by the tug Wybia on the Tama River.

Eventually scuttled in the ships graveyard on 16 March 1945.

References
“Wareatea – Glaucus Collision”, Examiner (Launceston), 28 January 1908, page 5.
“Wareatea Aground”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 1910, page 10.
“River Collision”, Examiner (Launceston), 12 September 1928, page 8.
“Tamar Collision”, The Mercury (Hobart), 19 September 1928, page 5.
There are many more dive sites in this area that can be arranged on request either to the skipper on the day of this event for normal dives,
or by Contacting Us for specialist technical dives.
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