The Hidden Shipwrecks of Sydney Harbour

In a secluded corner of Sydney Harbour, a floating garden has formed on century-old abandoned ships.


Head around 15km west of Sydney’s CBD, and you’ll find Mother Nature hard at work.

Here, in a secluded corner or Homebush Bay, not far from the home of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, magnificent floating gardens have formed on the forlorn, rusted wrecks of scores of abandoned vessels.

These are remnants from a ship breaking yard that operated in the area from 1966 until the 1970s. Most of the wrecks, including many deep below the surface, are now protected and provide sanctuary for a variety of sea birds and other wildlife.

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Wander along The Promenade near Bicentennial Park and you’ll have a close-up reminder of Sydney’s industrial past.

Here you’ll see the wrecks of colliers Ayrfield and SS Mortlake Bank (below), the tug Heroic (below), the steel broom defence vessel HMAS Karangi and several barges, dredges and lighters.


HMAS Karangi (main image) was stationed in Darwin until 1943 and in the 1950’s, it was present at the British atomic tests at the Monte Bello Islands.

The ship was partially scrapped in 1966 and the remains removed to Homebush Bay for breaking up.

Positioned close by, in the mangroves near Bicentennial Park, are the remains of the SS Heroic. The tugboat was built in the UK in 1909 and during World War I was commanded by the British Admiralty, renamed the Epic and used in rescue work off the Scilly Isles.

During WWII, it towed the Allara back to Sydney after that ship was torpedoed off Sydney.

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The wrecks of Homebush Bay are just some of the 300 or so vessels recorded as having come to grief in and around Sydney, with at least 90 lost within the Harbour itself.

Below the water rest historical treasures including scuttled passenger ferries, upturned steamships, wooden schooners and, of course, one infamous Japanese midget sub.

The Harbour’s biggest and most intact shipwreck, the collier SS Currajong, rests around 230 metres off Bradleys Head, close to Taronga Zoo (above).

Getting There

The Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay can be found to the right and left of Haslams Creek. You will need to park your car on Bennelong Parkway and walk.

Head for the Badu Mangrove boardwalk - a scenic 1.3km walking track, which first takes you through the mangrove boardwalk before joining up with the cycleway/footpath.



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