HMAS Sydney Found At Last

Okay, I know most people don’t know anything about the HMAS Sydney II unless they live in Australia or in particular Western Australia, but this truly is an historical event in maritime circles. It has been considered one of the greatest maritime mysteries in Australian history and has haunted the families of the 645 souls lost for over 65 years. After the HMAS Sydney came under fire by the German raider, HSK Kormoran on November 19th, 1941 it literally vanished into thin air and so to all its crew. Rumors, speculation and accusations circulated about the missing ship. Some believed it sank, whilst others believed it had been captured. Only one soul was ever found, his decomposed body washed ashore, along with a life raft (Carley Float), on February 1942 near Christmas Island, three months after the incident. Over the years the Federal and State governments have spent millions of dollars in the search of the Sydney.

In early August, 2007 three amateur historians, using a simple grappling hook and underwater camera, discovered what is believed to be the wreck of the HMAS Sydney II. The wreck was located off the Cape Inscription on the Northern end of Dirk Hartog Island off Shark Bay in about 150m of water. It was the persistence of amateur researcher Phil Shepherd which led to this long and exhaustive find. Working on a hunch about a mysterious bolt pulled up by a local fisherman 12 years prior, Shepherd contacted the late fisherman’s son who agreed to show him the location. Shepherd, his son Graham and master diver Ian Stiles headed to the location and armed with a heavy grapple they filmed what is believed to be the wreckage. Way to go boys, mystery solved. Finally the families can have some closure.
The loss of the Sydney would be Australia’s greatest in naval history.

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