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Garden Island Ships' Graveyard Maritime Heritage Trail

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.

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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: -34.811152°S 138.528410°E 

Iron Pontoon 2: -34.811152°S 138.528410°E 

Iron Pontoon 3: -34.811152°S 138.528410°E 

Iron Pontoon 4: -34.811152°S 138.528410°E 

*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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