Middle Head

Historical treasure on harbour's floor

Source - Daily Telegraph

By Henry Budd - The Daily Telegraph

Sydney Harbour may be the city's sparkling centre piece but its sandy bottom reveals its darker side. The city's coast and harbour have claimed more than 140 ships and hundreds of lives since the First Fleet arrived in 1788.

While many of the vessels have long since succumbed to the relentless toll of the ocean, several major shipwrecks are still visible to divers.

Sydney Harbour was considered one of the world's safest shipping harbours until the cargo ship Edward Lombe broke apart during a storm and was driven on to Middle Head in 1834, killing 12.

Nearly 180 years on, the ship's anchors can still be seen sitting on the bottom of the harbour.

Divers can still find pieces of coal west of North Head after the cargo ship Centurion sank in 1887 carrying 400 tonnes of the fuel. Parts of the steamers SS Centennial and Royal Shepherd, which sank in 1889 and 1890 respectively, can also be spotted by divers.

But the most intact wreck on the Harbour floor - the iron-hulled TSS Currajong - which sank in March 1910 off Bradleys Head, rests in a shipping channel and can't be reached without permission from Sydney Ports Authority.