Homebush’s Shipwreck Floating Forest


Image credit: Bruce Hood

In 1966, the Maritime Services Board approved a section of Homebush Bay for use as a shipwreck yard. In 1970 a wooden ramp was constructed to break up the vessels ashore, after breaking they were scuttled off along Long Reef as part of the shipwreck reef formed from 1976.

The SS Ayrfield is among the four visible shipwrecks to be spotted around the Homebush area and is locally  known as The Floating Forest. Coming in at 79.1m in length and 1,140-tonne steel, it is the most well known because of its relatively well-preserved condition with the blossoming foliage that adorns the rusted hull.

Built in England in 1911 as a cargo ship, it was used by the Commonwealth Government during WWII to transport supplies to American troops in the Pacific.

In 1951 it was sold to the Miller Steamship Company and operated as a collier on the sixty miler run between Sydney and Newcastle until its registration was cancelled in 1972, resulting in it being sent to its final resting place where its hull floats covered by lush vegetation.

Here it remains in Homebush Bay as a spectre of beauty and a token of history.



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