Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay

The Shipwrecks and Wetlands of Homebush Bay are a stunning credit to reclamation and beautification old industrial locations, with paths, cycle tracks, wetlands and of course, the shipwrecks.

Situated on the south bank of the Parramatta River and the location of the Sydney Olympic Park for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, it was previously a heavy industrial area.  The river is heavily polluted with dioxin, heavy metals and other chemicals and fishing is banned in the river.  The shipwrecks are the remains of ships and barges from a ship breaking yard dating back to 1966.  Left behind are four ships hulls and several smaller barges that are protected under the Shipwrecks Act, 1976, which applies to all shipwrecks over seventy five years old.  Relics over fifty years old and located in lakes and/or rivers, are protected under the provisions of the NSW Heritage Act, 1977. 

We took a day trip down here to photograph the shipwrecks, but due to a week of sunrise starts we were too slow getting out of bed and arrived mid morning.  The sunrise had gone, and with the sun rising higher in the sky the shots I wanted werent possible due to the light.

SS Ayrfield Shipwreck, Homebush Bay

SS Ayrfield Shipwreck

SS Ayrfield

The SS Ayrfield was a steam collier of 1140 tonnes and 79.1m in length.  It was built in the UK in 1911 and registered at Sydney in 1912. It was purchased by the Commonwealth Government and used to transport supplies to American troops stationed in the Pacific region during WWII.  She’s now far more beautiful with lush shrubs and trees growing on her decks and sits directly outside an apartment block.  Best spots to photograph her are from the front of the apartment block, or on the little footbridge.  And at early light.

SS Heroic Homebush Bay

SS Heroic

SS Heroic

A stunning display of rusting beauty, The Heroic, a steel-hulled, steam tugboat of 258 tonnes and 38.1m in length lies just near the mangroves. It was built at South Shields, UK in 1909 for Thomas Fenwick [tugboat operators] of Sydney.   During WWI, it was commandeered by the British Admiralty, renamed Epic and engaged in rescue work off the Scilly Isles. By 1919, it was back in Sydney as a working tug. During WWII, it towed Allara back to Sydney after that ship had been torpedoed off Sydney.

Homebush Bay

SS Mortlake Bank

 The Mortlake Bank has been broken up and only the stern section and part of the bow remain floating approximately 50m north east of SS Ayrfield.  The Mortlake Bank was a steel-hulled steam collier weighing 1371 tonnes and 71.65m long was built in the Wallsend-on-Tyne in the UK in 1924, was purchased by a Melbourne company and operated between Hexham and Mortlake transporting coal to the Mortlake Gasworks of the Australian Gas Light Company. On 31 May 1942, during WWII SS Mortlake Bank entered Sydney Harbour passing through the anti-submarine boom net when the Japanese midget submarine (M-24) made entry under the ship’s keel.

Homebush Bay

SS Heroic

As you follow the 1.3 km walking track past the shipwrecks, the other side of the path is home to the salt marshes of theWaterbird Refuge.  We spotted several different bird species on our shipwreck spotting walk.

Black Winged Stilt

Black Winged Stilt

Great White Heron

Great White Heron

White Faced Heron

White Faced Heron

Pied Cormorant

Pied Cormorant

shipwreck map

Shipwreck Map (click for larger image)

Sources: Wrecks of Homebush Bay and Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay

This entry was posted in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

3 Comments

  1. Glenda September 24, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    Wowee, great shots. You slept in, nah!!!!! Not like you GF. But what you took are brilliant anyway.

    • Bevlea September 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

      Yep slept in. Instead of getting up at 5am we didn’t get up till 7am lol

  2. Ruth September 27, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    Thanks for this interesting post, Bevlea. I didn’t know about these wrecks and the wetlands. I’ll try to visit next time I’m in Sydney.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*