A shipwreck discovered off Rottnest Island is believed to be a steam dredge which built Fremantle harbour more than 100 years ago.
Former Member for Fremantle the Hon. Jim McGinty, WA Museum principal author Graeme Henderson and Geoff Kimpton found the 48-metre long iron wreck lying on reef in 12 metres of water, 1km west of Straggler’s Rocks during a recreational dive.
Although the vessel was in many pieces and camouflaged by marine growth, Mr Henderson said but the location, depth, size and condition of the wreck point towards it being the Fremantle.
The dredge was built in 1894 and played an important role in building the port harbour during the 1890s when shipping access to the Swan River river was blocked by a rocky bar across the entrance.
Graeme Henderson said other vessels were scuttled off Rottnest Island but records showed the Fremantle was the only one scuttled on reef west of Straggler’s Rocks.