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The remains of at least 40 abandoned vessels lie embedded in silt and partially hidden by mangroves in the backwaters of the Port River, in Adelaide's north west. The collection includes large and small sailing, steam and motor vessels, barges, pontoons and dredges.

The Port Adelaide graveyards are made up of five abandonment sites (ships' graveyards), including Garden Island, Jervois Basin, Mutton Cove, Broad Creek and the Angas Inlet. The Garden Island ships' graveyard is the largest site, with 25 known vessels to have been abandoned between 1909 and 1945.

As vessels within the Port fell into disrepair or were no longer viable, harbour authorities needed to cater for their disposal. South Australia's relatively shallow gulf waters meant that scuttling at sea was not generally an option. The alternative was that most obsolete vessels were beached and broken up at various sites around Port Adelaide - some were completely salvaged but others were only partially scrapped.

Many ended their working days in Port Adelaide as storage hulks or lighters. Some vessels were repurposed - including as a footbridge, a floating grain mill and a crayfish depot (adaptive reuse is not just a concept for built heritage).

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You can visit these sites (subject to land access requirements), and two of the abandonment sites - Garden Island and Jervois Basin - are also maritime heritage trails.

Angas Inlet Ships' Graveyard

Kadina (possibly)

Kadina

Location: thought to be at -34.806197*S 138.526615*E

Vessel type: coal hulk (formerly 3-masted ship)

Kadina was built at Phippsburg in Maine, United States, and launched as Jeannie W. Paine in 1853. For a while the vessel was part of the Black Diamond Line transporting coal from Newcastle to Wallaroo. By 1876, the vessel was a coal hulk at North Arm of the Port River. In 1879 the vessel caught fire and was towed ashore and allowed to burn out. The exact site is unknown but the remains of a large timber vessel in Angas Inlet are thought to be Kadina.

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Unidentified Remains 1-6 Angas Inlet

[No images available] 

Location: various locations along the northern bank of Angas Inlet

Vessel type: 6 x unidentified recreational craft

Broad Creek Ships' Graveyard

Dorothy S

Dorothy S

Location: -34.806508*S 138.564848*E

Vessel type: wooden schooner

Dorothy S was built at Sandridge, Victoria and launched as Stephen in 1868. For more than 50 years Stephen worked the Victorian coastal trade before moving to Adelaide in 1922. By 1926, the vessel was derelict at Garden Island and soon after was moved to Broad Creek to service two hydroplaces. By 1928 the vessel was abandoned.

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No.1 Hulk

[No images available] 

Location: -34.808168*S 138.565345*E

Vessel type: iron bucket dredge

Probably originally built as an iron bucket dredge in 1852, the hulk, known today as No.1 Hulk, was later used as a hulk for storing explosives in the North Arm. It was condemned in 1915 and grounded the same year as reinforcement for the Broad Creek embankment.

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Garden Island Ships' Graveyard

Dorothy H Sterling (formerly Oregon Pine)

 Dorothy H Sterling - North Arm

Location: -34.81332*S 138.540016*E

Vessel type: 6-masted wooden schooner

Dorothy H Sterling was built in Portland, Oregon, in 1920. It arrived in Port Adelaide with a cargo of timber during the Great Depression in 1929. It was seized for unpaid harbour dues and systematically dismantled. In 1932 the gutted hill was towed to North Arm and abandoned as a source of free firewood.

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Enterprise

Enterprise - North Arm  

Location: -34.810990*S 138.528186*E

Vessel type: iron screw steamer

Enterprise was built in Sydney in 1868. It assisted in the construction of the Overland Telegraph and construction of the bridge at Murray Bridge. In 1913 it became a water-tender and was abandoned at Garden Island later that year.

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Flinders

Flinders - North Arm  

Location: -34.811559*S 138.529618*E

Vessel type: iron screw steamer

Flinders was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1878. It operated in the southeast Australian coastal trade for 33 years before being damagaed by fire and hulked in the North Arm. In 1931, it was beached at Garden Island and abandoned.

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Garthneill (formerly Inverneill)

Garthneill - North Arm  

Location: -34.811669*S 138.530388*E

Vessel type: steel barque

Garthneill was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1895. It ran the grain trade between Europe and Australia, as well as other trades and routes. In 1921 it became Australia's only floating grain mill. In 1935 it was abandoned at Garden Island.

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Gem

Gem - North Arm  

Location: -34.811258*S 138.529285*E

Vessel type: double-ended composite paddle steamer

Gem was built at Yarra bank, Melbourne, in 1868. It worked as a ferry, then as a silt-pumping barge, then assisted the construction of Port Adelaide's No.2 Dock before being repurposed as a floating footbridge. It was laid up in 1927 then towed to Garden Island and abandoned.

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Glaucus

Glaucus - North Arm  

Location: -34.811704*S 138.530547*E

Vessel type: iron screw steamer

Glaucus was built in Sunderland, England, in 1878. Used for coastal and interstate trade and then for grain storage at Williamstown in Victoria and Port Adelaide, it was broken up at Ethelton then towed to Garden Island and abandoned.

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Grace Darling

Grace Darling - North Arm  

Location: -34.811437*S 138.529668*E

Vessel type: screw steamer

Grace Darling was built in Hardinxveld, Netherlands, in 1907. It was used mainly in the local coastal passenger and cargo trade. It was abandoned at Garden Island in 1931 and only its bottom hull remains.

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Juno

Juno - North Arm  

Location: vicinity of -34.811549*S 138.529958*E

Vessel type: iron screw steamer

Juno was built in Greenock, Scotland, in 1903. It was designed for the shallow waters of the Gulf St Vincent coastal ports. It was broken up in Port Adelaide in 1931 and its remains towed and abandoned at Garden Island.

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Killarney (formerly Success)

Killarney - North Arm  

Location: -34.811183*S 138.528263*E

Vessel type: wooden motor launch

Success was built at Port Adelaide in 1910 and used as a ferry until it was refitted and renamed Killarney in 1920. It was abandoned and broken up at Garden Island in 1928. Today the most prominent feature is the boiler.

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Lady Daly

Lady Daly - North Arm  

Location: -34.811236*S 138.528463*E

Vessel type: wooden schooner

Lady Daly was built in Williamstown, Victoria, in 1876. The schooner worked the SA coastal trade for more than 50 years before being abandoned at Garden Island in 1929.

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Mangana

Mangana - North Arm  

Location: -34.811626*S 138.529949*E

Vessel type: iron screw steamer

Mangana was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1876. It traded between Tasmania and mainland Australian ports and later to Sydney and Noumea. In 1901 it was hulked in Port Adelaide and then abandoned at Garden Island in 1931.

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Moe (formerly Zoe)

Moe - North Arm  

Location: -34.811409*S 138.529351*E

Vessel type: iron barque

Moe was built in Liverpool, England, in 1876, originally named Zoe. Subsequently named Glycinia and then Hebe, it was named Moe when purchased by a Melbourne business in 1912. From 1928, abandonment of the hulk at North Arm needed several attempts, with the hulk breaking free several times. It was finally laid to rest in 1931.

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Santiago

Santiago - North Arm

Location: -34.810423*S 138.541583*E

Vessel type: iron barque

Santiago was built in Methil, Scotland, in 1856. The barque arrived in Australia in 1900 and was converted to a coal hulk in Port Adelaide in 1901. It was abandoned in the North Arm in August 1945 and is still relatively intact.

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Sarnia (also known as No.4 Dredge)

Sarnia - North Arm  

Location: -34.811214*S 138.529334*E

Vessel type: composite steam dredge

Sarnia (No.4 Dredge) was built in Port Adelaide in 1878. It operated as a dredge at Port Adelaide and Port Pirie until it was converted to a coal hulk in the 1920s. After sinking in the Port River in 1926, it was transferred to the North Arm and abandoned.

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Seminole

Seminole - North Arm  

Location: -34.811232*S 138.527895*E

Vessel type: wooden barque

Seminole was built in Mystic, Connecticut, in 1865. After working on both coasts of the United States, Seminole arrived at Newcastle in New South Wales in 1899, and was towed to Port Adelaide and used as a coal hulk. After a couple of fires on board, the vessel was abandoned at North Arm but little of the hull remains.

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Stanley

Stanley - North Arm  

Location: -34.811335*S 138.529554*E

Vessel type: schooner-rigged iron paddle steamer (tug)

Stanley was built in Paisley, Scotland, in 1876. After an eagerly awaited arrival in Adelaide, its performance proved disappointing. The vessel was laid up and sold for demolition in 1930, but was moved to the North Arm and abandoned the same year. Very little remains.

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Sunbeam

Sunbeam - North Arm  

Location: -34.81139*S 138.528003*E

Vessel type: hulk (formerly an iron barque)

Sunbeam was built in Kirkaldy, Scotland, in 1857. In 1886, the vessel was converted to a coal hulk in Melbourne. Soon after, it was brought to Port Adelaide and in 1910 it was abandoned in the North Arm. Today, the vessel is generally intact along its entire length.

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Thomas and Annie

Thomas Annie - North Arm  

Location: -34.811348*S 138.529781*E

Vessel type: wooden ketch

Once part of SA's 'Mosquito Fleet', Thomas and Annie worked the gulfs as a coastal trader for almost 70 years. The ketch was abandoned at the graveyard in 1945. Today the most visible feature from the water is the timber and iron windlass at the edge of the mangroves.

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Unidentified Iron Pontoons 1 to 4

Unidentified Pontoon - North Arm  

Locations:

Iron Pontoon 1: Link to NatureMaps

Iron Pontoon 2: Link to NatureMaps

Iron Pontoon 3: Link to NatureMaps

Iron Pontoon 4: Link to NatureMaps

*These vessels have not yet been found and the maps shown are approximate only, based on interpretation of historical documents. The actual positions may differ.

Vessel type: 4 x iron pontoons

The remains of the four iron pontoons are located at Garden Island, but little is known of their history. During the 1920s, the SA Harbors Board built a number of pontoons for various types of harbour work and for aiding the construction of the locks and weirs in the River Murray. At this stage, none of the pontoons have been identified.

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Unidentified Wooden Barge

Unidentified Wooden Barge - North Arm

Location: -34.811151*S 138.528113*E

Vessel type: wooden barge

Side and bottom frames protruding from the silt are the only obvious remains of this former wooden barge. The shape of the hull indicates that it may be the remains of at lease 24 wooden bin barges that were built for the construction of the locks and weirs in the River Murray.

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Iron Barge/Dredge

Iron Hopper barge dredge - North Arm  

Location: -34.811042*S 138.528098*E

Vessel type: iron hopper barge/dredge

The forward section of a former hopper barge or dredge is largely intact, but substantial salvage of the stern makes it difficult to identify specifically as a barge or dredge.

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Unidentified Iron Dredge

Unidentified Iron Dredge - North Arm  

Location: vicinity of -34.811762*S 138.530673*E

*This vessel has not yet been found and the coordinates shown are approximate only, based on interpretation of historical documents. The actual position may differ.

Vessel type: iron dredge

At the eastern end of the main concentration of vessels are the remains of what is though to have been an iron dredge. The dredge's identity is unknown as only the stern section remains.

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Jervois Basin Ships' Graveyard

Alert

Alert - Jervois Basin  

Location: -34.8499*S 138.4968*E

Vessel type: wooden ketch

Alert was built in Hobart in 1872. For nearly 90 years Alert worked the SA coastal trade under a succession of owners. In 1960 the ketch was moved from where it lay derelict near the Jervois Bridge to the Ethelton Log Pool at Jervois Basin. There it was gradually broken up and eventually burnt to the waterline.

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Trafalgar

Trafalgar - Jervois Basin  

Location: -34.8501*S 138.4972*E

Vessel type: dumb barge (formerly a composite paddle steamer)

Trafalgar was built at Echuca, Victoria, in 1877. It originally operated on the Wentworth trade but later operated as a passenger vessel between Echuca and Mildura. In 1933, it was converted to a dumb barge and, in 1947, an attempt was made to convert it to a ketch. It proved unsuitable for conversion so was abandoned at Ethelton Log Pool and partially broken up.

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Fides

Fides - Jervois Basin  

Location: -34.8485*S 138.4966*E

Vessel type: 4-masted wooden schooner

Fides was built in Risor, Norway, in 1918. The vessel arrived in Port Adelaide in 1928 but lay idle for four years. After failed attempts to re-purpose the vessel, in 1932 it was seized for non-payment of harbour dues and partially broken up over time, first at Commercial Wharf and later at Portland Canal. It was then beached at Ethelton and scrapping continued. Today remains are partially covered by reclaimed land.

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Fitzjames

Fitzjames - Jervois Basin  

Location: -34.848178*S 138.496643*E

Vessel type: timber hulk (formerly a 3-masted ship)

Fitzjames was built at Richibucto, Canada, in 1852 and became part of the White Star Line trading the Atlantic and transporting emigrants to Australia. After springing a leak and being towed to Australia it was condemned and hulked in Melbourne. It then became a floating boy's reformatory and some time after 1891 it was beached at the end of the Cable Company Wharf in Jervois Basin. The remains are believed to be covered by reclaimed land.

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Alba

[No image available] 

Location: unknown

Vessel type: iron hulk (formerly a 3-masted barque)

Alba was built at Dundee, Scotland, in 1867. Around 1900 it was sold to the Adelaide Steam Ship Company for use as a hulk. In 1956-57 the hulk was purchased by Hines Metal Co. for scrapping. Records regarding the location are not conclusive - some records state that it was in the North Arm, while others state the Ethelton Log Pool. The Hines Metal Co. was responsible for scrapping a number of vessels in the Jervois Basin, so it is likely the remains are there.

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Fish Market Pontoon

Fish Market Pontoon - Jervois Basin  

Location: -34.850305*S 138.497049*E

Vessel type: wooden pontoon

This pontoon once serviced the Port Adelaide Fishing Fleet on the northeast side of the Jervois Bridge, prior to their move to the North Arm. This was the former site of the Port Adelaide Fish Market. Around 1960 the pontoon was removed and abandoned on the Ethelton mudflats.

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Unnamed Pontoon

Unidentified Wooden Pontoon - Jervois Basin  

Location: -34.850411*S 138.497874*E

Vessel type: wooden pontoon

An unidentified wooden pontoon lies in the south eastern section of the Log Pool. Although its origin is unknown, fittings and other structures suggest that the pontoon was possibly a platform for one of the floating cranes that moved about the port.

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Mutton Cove Ships' Graveyard

Excelsior

Excelsior  

Location: -34.77184*S 138.511921*E

Vessel type: steel hulk (former steamship)

The substantial remains of this vessel are a familiar sight at the northern end of Mutton Cove, near Pelican Point. A favourite for maritime photographers, the vessel was abandoned in 1945.

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Jupiter

Jupiter Mutton Cove  

Location: -34.776618*S 138.511954*E

Vessel type: composite paddle steamer

Jupiter was originally built as an iron barge in 1866, but it was converted to a side-paddler in 1868. It was abandoned at Mutton Cove in about 1945. Today the hull is basically intact to deck level, but is predominantly covered by silt and the tides. A detached iron superstructure is lying off the stern.

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