Ships' Grave Yard

Point Of Interest

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Garden Island, South Australia


The abandoned wrecks of the Garden Island Ships' Graveyard are unburied archaeological treasures. They represent a unique collection of craft which plied South Australian waters during an era when the maritime industry dominated transport, trade and employment. From 1909 to 1945 the North Arm of the Port Adelaide River became the final destination for many vessels which had outlived their usefulness casualties of technological change, of the Great Depression and two World Wars, or simply of disrepair and accidental damage. Instead of scuttling these obsolete vessels in deep water, the Harbors Board decided that an easier and cheaper option was to beach and further dismantle the stripped hulks at Garden Island. The 25 vessels known to have been abandoned in the North Arm are a varied group of dredgers, barges, pontoons and ferries as well as sailing ships and steamers. Many ended their working lives in the port as store ships or tenders. One even became a footbridge and another a floating grain mill. Today the historic wrecks that line Garden Island, which make up the maritime heritage trail, are partially shielded by mangroves and washed by the tide. They represent a significant chapter in SA's maritime history and provide valuable insights into Port Adelaide and its past. Source: South Australian Department of Environment and Water

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Lat: -34.811656 Lng: 138.53035

User Reviews



While the wrecks can be seen from the shore they are best viewed using a drone. However, as you are not permitted to launch and fly from within a conservation area, you will need to launch from outside the area, ideally from the bank of the river opposite the wrecks.


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