Shipwreck of South Australian Found

During a severe storm characterised by a wild south-easterly gale, the barque South Australian was violently ripped from its mooring and blown into Black Reef, Encounter Bay, which it struck stern first.

The barque, a South Australian Company vessel, had been at anchor awaiting the arrival of another of the company’s ships, Solway, which was to take cargo held aboard the South Australian. Once it had hit Black Reef, the South Australian was pushed over and into the shallow water beyond, close to the shores of what is today Victor Harbour.

Interestingly, Solway also wrecked there, and fairly close to South Australian, as did one other vessel, the Perie. Colonel William Light briefly surveyed the location, which at the time was a small community primarily involved in the whaling industry, and remarked on his chart that:

“This anchorage, I think is not fit for anything.”

It became

South Australia's first known shipwreck.

Life began as the postal packet Marquis of Salisbury.

Marquis of Salisbury was built at Little Falmouth (Flushing), United Kingdom by shipbuilder Richard Symons. The keel was laid down in 1817, and the vessel was ready for service two years later. It was a vessel of 236 tons, an overall length of 87 feet (26.5 metres), beam of 25 feet (7.6 metres) and draught of 6 feet (1.8 metres). It served as a postal packet for approximately 6 years. In 1824, it was bought by the Royal Navy, converted and renamed HMS Swallow which it remained until 1836 when it was sold to the South Australian Company.

HMS Swallow was once more refitted and renamed South Australian – now a colonisation vessel destined to assist in building the new settlement of South Australia. On its international voyage it carried skilled labourers and also breeding stock including two Devon bulls, two Devon heifers, twenty pigs, and twenty Cashmere goats.

Once it arrived in Australia, South Australian worked between Kangaroo Island and Encounter Bay, resupplying the whaling stations at Rosetta Bay on the mainland. It was, at that time, refitted as a ‘cutting in’ vessel, essentially an offshore whale oil processing platform but did go on to make one more return trip to Kangaroo Island before its wrecking.

Immediately after the wrecking event, the vessel was salvaged. However, the lower hold was flooded and nothing could be saved from it. The South Australian was then abandoned and left to the mercy of the sea.

As time passed, memory faded and the wreck was completely engulfed by the waters. The exact location was slowly forgotten. Some attempts were made in the 1990s to locate the wreck site, however they did not prove fruitful. In 2018, a collaborative venture between the Silentworld Foundation, South Australian Maritime Museum, South Australian Department for Environment and Water, Australian National Maritime Museum, MaP Fund and Flinders University, set out to locate the site. Armed with archival information as well as data from previous searches, a magnetometer and several metal detectors, the team walked, snorkeled and dived the assigned area. The shipwreck was located on the fifth day of fieldwork.

For the larger story on the life and times of the South Australian, visit the SA History Hub.

Lost for over 180 years. Found 2018.


AIMA-NAS COURSE

MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGY COURSE

DO . LEARN . LOVE


Interested in archaeology? Often marvelled open mouthed at the majesty of the sailing ship and ingenuity of steam ships? Ever wondered who in the world actually has the job of investigating shipwrecks and piecing together their stories and thought ‘that’s extraordinary, wish I could do that’.

Wish no more! Take up an AIMA / NAS maritime archaeology course and join in on the adventure. Learn what to look for, what to do when you find it and how to help protect heritage in your own community.

YES. LET'S GO.

The Australasian Institute of Maritime Archaeology coordinates courses all over Australia – anyone can join! Seriously. You get:

  • an introduction to maritime archaeology
  • practical skills and know-how to use in a fieldwork situation

No diving is involved during training and non-divers are most welcome.

Next course for NSW will run on the 4-5 August by archaeologists from the  Australian National Maritime Museum and the Silentworld Foundation.

NITTY GRITTIES

The course consists of a series of lectures, discussions and practical sessions on:

  1. survey techniques
  2. material conservation
  3. ship construction
  4. maritime archaeology
  5. heaps more

Cost includes (full time student concession available):

  1. Two day training course
  2. One year membership with AIMA
  3. Lunch and light refreshments for entire course

DUE TO PRACTICAL COMPONENTS OF THE COURSE SPACES ARE LIMITED (in other words, get in quick!).

Need more info?    GET IT HERE

Need to book in?   DO IT HERE  (Add NSW Course to cart)

For further clarification please contact:

Irini Malliaros – imalliaros@silentworldfoundation.org.au

Kieran Hosty – khosty@anmm.gov.au

MORE INFO & BOOKING


HMAS AE1 Reception

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

A short reception at the Australian National Maritime Museum took place on the evening of the 12th March to present the findings of the expedition to the descendants of the 35 crewmen aboard AE1 at the time of her loss, the naval community, members of partner organisations and corporate sponsors.

The Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne, PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Rimbik Pato OBE, and Chief of Navy, VADM Tim Barrett each made a short address followed by the presentation of findings from the expedition by Rear Admiral Peter Briggs RAN Rtd and an incredibly moving speech by Vera Ryan, descendant and representative of the AE1 crew descendants association.

The presentations were followed by a meet and greet session in an exhibition space with information on the story of AE1 and the recent discovery. The display included, in large format, the photomosaic of the site produced with the imagery captured by Fugro. On show was also the ceremonial axe that launched both AE1 and AE2.

Project Partners & Sponsors

Sponsorship

SWF founder and director John Mullen, as well as sponsoring the search personally, engaged his SWF team, in association with the Australian National Maritime Foundation, in a fundraising initiative during the lead up to the December 2017 search, gaining the generous support of corporate organisations and private sponsors. John and SWF would like to extend the deepest appreciation to all those who supported the search for a vessel of such extreme national significance. The project would, simply put, not have been possible without your support – thank you.

Major Sponsors

Individual Sponsors

Malcolm Broomhead

Michael Burn

Glen Butler

Peter Dexter

Helene & Dan Janes

Tim Joyce

Greg Levy

Nicholas Moore

John Pickhaver

Rob Sindel

Debbie & Guy Templeton

Project Supporters

AE1 Descendant Families’ Association

Defence Science and Technology Group

Government of Papua New Guinea

IX Blue

PNG National Museum and Art Gallery

Royal Australian Navy Historical Section

Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Section

Sea Power Centre Australia

Submarine Association of Australia

Submariners Association


HMAS AE1

ONCE WAS LOST

Australia’s first submarine, HMAS AE1, was assigned to support operations in German New Guinea during the First World War. On 14 September 1914, AE1 was patrolling off Cape Gazelle. After making contact with the support vessel HMAS Parramatta, AE1 continued the patrol. Instructions were to return to port in Rabaul by sundown.

AE1 never came back.

A search was mounted to locate the vessel which continued for 3 days – no sign was ever found. The fate of the vessel and the men on board, comprising Australian, New Zealand and British subjects, remained a mystery for over a century.

Image: Last known photo of HMAS AE1.  Sea Power Centre

The Search

It was not until decades later that the search was picked up again in earnest by Commander John Foster (OAM RAN Rtd.). His archival research was extensive but his efforts did not end there. Several attempts at physically locating the site of the submarine were made – a brief timeline of these searches can be found here.

December 2017

Silentworld Foundation and the Australian Government, through the Royal Australian Navy, co-funded an expedition to once again search for AE1 – in collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum, FindAE1 Ltd. (a limited company established for the sole purpose of locating the vessel and comprised by the team that located AE2) and the Submarine Institute of Australia.

The team partnered with Fugro, international commercial surveying services company and aboard MV Fugro Equator set out to find the men of AE1.

This was achieved on the evening of 20 December 2017.

Armed with information gathered over several years, the most recent of which was multi-beam echo sounder data gathered by the team at IXSurvey (IXBlue) in 2015, the Fugro remote sensing team tackled the task with great skill and expertise with the invaluable aid of the vessel crew under the command of captain Andres Masloboev assisted by chief officer Ruslan Vakulyuk and 2nd officer Andriy Babushev.

WATCH THE DISCOVERY

Image: (Top) MV Fugro Equator

(Bottom) The Fugro team of AUV engineers, data analysts and geophysicists on the AE1 expedition – Tanesh Thanapalan, Ali Faizal, Sudiyono, Zennezky, Chandran Karapiah, Jaayaprakash Narianan, Marlon Bravo, Walid Luqman, Gerry Galvan, Diensa Refranto, Jemual Rebong, Nugroho, Magnus Windle

Sponsorship

Silentworld Foundation, in association with the Australian National Maritime Foundation, also undertook a fundraising initiative in the lead up to the search, gaining the generous support of organisations and private sponsors. SWF would like to extend the deepest appreciation to all those who supported the search for a vessel of such extreme national significance.

Major Sponsors: