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Garden Island Ships' Graveyard Maritime Heritage Trail

The abandoned wrecks along the Garden Island Ships' Graveyard Maritime Heritage Trail represent a unique collection of vessels which worked 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 South Australian Harbours Board decided that an easier and cheaper option was to beach and further dismantle the stripped hulks at Garden Island.

The 25 wrecks known to have been abandoned in the North Arm are a varied group of dredges, barges, pontoons and ferries as well as sailing ships and steamers. Many ended their working lives in the Port as store ships and tenders. One even became a footbridge and another a floating grain mill.

Today the historic wrecks which line Garden Island are partially shielded by mangroves and washed by the tide. They represent a significant chapter in South Australia's maritime history and provide valuable insights into Port Adelaide and its past.

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