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Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:52 pm
by Daniel Leahy
Hi All,

I just found this on the NEWS.COM.AU website:,23599,22226050-2,00.html
Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

August 11, 2007 01:00am
Article from: AAP

THE 66-year search for the wreck of HMAS Sydney is believed to be over.

The ship, in which 645 Australians died, is believed to have been found by a group of West Australians using a grappling hook and a camera last weekend.

The Sydney sank after a battle with German raider, Kormoran, on November 19, 1941, Fairfax newspapers said.

Video film of the find shows tangled wreckage over large, much longer than any other ship known to have sunk nearby.

The search team believe the video, which shows decking bolts, radio aerials, steam tubes and signs of massive damage show the wreck is the Sydney.

The shipwreck is near Cape Inscription on the northern end of Dirk Hartog Island.

It is in about 150m of water.

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:44 pm
by Daniel Leahy
More on this from the ABC website on Saturday: ... 002432.htm
HMAS Sydney found, group claims
Posted Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:36am AEST
Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:42am AEST

The patron of a long-running effort to find the wreck of the Australian World War II warship HMAS Sydney says claims the ship has been found need to be verified as soon as possible.

The Sydney sank with 645 crew on board in November 1941 after a battle against the German raider Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia.

The ship's wreck has never been found, but now a team of amateur researchers is claiming to have located it in 150 metres of water off Dirk Hartog Island near Carnarvon.

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer, a patron of the Finding Sydney Foundation, says despite a number of false leads in the past, this one seems to have substance.

"This is seemingly a welcome breakthrough after all these years - over six decades - and if it proves up to detailed analysis [the families] will be absolutely delighted," he said.

"[There will be] closure for many families living in Sydney and Melbourne and right around Australia, who lost loved ones and members of their family on the HMAS Sydney when it sank."

The Foundation's Bob Trotter says the claim is exciting but needs to be verified.

"If they're right we'd be the first to say well done," he said.
Another related article from the ABC yesterday: ... 002609.htm
HMAS 'Sydney' shouldn't be moved: soldier's relative
Posted Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:48pm AEST

A woman whose brother died when HMAS Sydney was sunk off the Western Australian coast during World War II says she would not like to see the wreck moved.

The Sydney disappeared in 1941, with 645 crew on board, after it was attacked by the German raider Kormoron.

A group of amateur researchers claims to have found the wreck off Dirk Hartog Island near Carnarvon.

Audrey Stewart was five years old when her 20-year-old brother William Turner died on board the ship.

She says it would be great if the latest discovery turns out to be the Sydney.

"I reckon it would be very nice, but I wouldn't like it disturbed," she said.

"It would be a bit disturbing - at least we know he's resting there. So I think a memorial of some kind as close to the site as possible would be very nice."
A third related article from the ABC yesterday: ... 002555.htm
HMAS 'Sydney' claim raises treasure hunt fears
Posted Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:16pm AEST

There is concern international privateers and relic hunters will seek to profit from what is believed to be the wreck of the warship HMAS Sydney.

A group of amateur researchers claim to have found the wreck off the coast of Western Australia, near Carnarvon.

The Sydney was sunk off the WA coast during World War II, killing the entire crew of 645.

Former Western Australian MP Philip Pendal chaired a select committee into shipwrecks off the WA coast and says the Federal Government must move to authenticate and protect the site.

He says the interests of the finders must also be protected.

"We've seen an appalling list of cases in the past 50 years where the finders of important shipwrecks have been treated badly and I don't think we have to have that repeated," he said.

The men involved are refusing to speak to the ABC and most other media outlets.

It is understood they are attempting to secure payment or sponsorship in relation to the find.

Defence Minister Brendan Nelson says his department is in contact with the researchers.

He says while the results so far are encouraging, no one can be certain until the Navy has conducted a survey of the wreck.

"I'm advised by the Chief of Defence that we can have a Naval survey ship examine the wreck in some detail within the next week and until such time as we've actually ascertained certainly whether it is Sydney or isn't Sydney, I don't think that we should unfairly raise the expectations of Australia and particularly the families of those whose lives were lost," he said.

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:48 pm
by Daniel Leahy
More about the possible Sydney discovery from the ABC today: ... 002693.htm
Diver challenges HMAS 'Sydney' claims
Posted 1 hour 37 minutes ago

A commercial skipper and diver says a shipwreck found off Western Australia's Gascoyne Coast may not be that of HMAS Sydney.

The Sydney was sunk off the WA coast in 1941 by the German raider, Kormoran.

A group of amateur researchers claims to have found HMAS Sydney in 150 metres of water off Dirk Hartog Island near Carnarvon.

John Daly says he has seen the readings of a sonar device used in the area and says it is a large structure, but not as big as HMAS Sydney.

"If you take the dimensions of three large shipping containers and go three end to end, and three high and maybe two and half wide, that would give you a fair approximation of what we believe we saw on the bottom," he said.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:19 pm
by Andy in West Oz ... 85542.html
A wreck sighted off the West Australia coast is unlikely to be HMAS Sydney, sunk in a World War II sea battle, a deep sea salvage expert says.

David Mearns, who found the wreck of the British battleship HMS Hood, also sunk in 1941, said the sighting by amateur researchers last week was 65 nautical miles east of the site where the Sydney was badly damaged.

The location of the wreck and video footage of the sighting made it too soon to assume the researchers had found the Australian cruiser, he said.

"They've looked at a very, very small portion of a ship and there isn't anything that is specific or characteristic in the video imagery for us to say exactly what it is," Mr Mearns told ABC Radio today.

"I think it's a bit early for anybody to be speculating that it could be HMAS Sydney or the German wreck - Kormoran."

On November 19, 1941, the Sydney and the disguised German commerce raider Kormoran engaged in battle more than 100 nautical miles off the West Australian coast.

Both ships sank but none of the Sydney's 645 crew survived.

Survivors of the Kormoran last saw the Sydney moving away slowly, on fire and riding low at the bow.

Mr Mearns said it was unlikely the Sydney could have limped 65 nautical miles before sinking, and if so, he questioned why none of the crew survived under such circumstances.

"It doesn't make much sense that Sydney would have had a battle with this German ship, then after the battle limped away and steamed for another sort of 65 miles," he said.

"It just doesn't make much sense that in that sort of circumstance nobody got off the ship alive if they were fearful she would sink."

Mr Mearns said he often found other wrecks before locating the one he was searching for.

"This is a sort of shipping route off that coastline, so it's not unusual to find other ships that people haven't paid much attention to."

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:24 pm
by Daniel Leahy
More on this issue from ABC: ... 006717.htm
HMAS 'Sydney' searchers: We're being treated like criminals
Posted 1 hour 56 minutes ago
Updated 27 minutes ago

One of the men at the centre of the latest search for the warship HMAS Sydney says he and his colleagues are being treated like criminals.

Graham Shepherd is among a group of amateur researchers that have found a wreck off the West Australian coast that they claim could be the Sydney.

The Sydney was sunk with the loss of 645 crew members after a 1941 battle with German raider Kormoran.

The Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Billson yesterday criticised the research group, saying it had refused to provide the exact co-ordinates of the wreck.

He said they had a moral and legal obligation to share the information.

But Mr Shepherd has told the ABC those details were given to the Minister's office last night, and have also been available to other agencies in recent years.

"The thing that has disappointed me is that I got back from Perth to Geraldton last night to find Mr Bruce Billson has been in touch [ and accused us] of a lack of honour, or a lack of Australian character for withholding from Australia critical information," he said.

"These numbers that he's chasing, these coordinates he's chasing have been supplied to the West Australian Maritime Museum twice in the last five years in writing and have been rejected by them as being a waste of time.

"They have had all the information we started off with given to them twice in writing, and now they're ringing us up telling us that we're some sort of communists who won't give back national secrets. It's absolutely disgusting in my opinion.

"We are true-blue Aussies out to have a bit of a look, and we've been told that we lack honour."

Billson denies he's treated the men like criminals

The Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs, Bruce Billson, has rejected the claim the group has cooperated in any way, including supplying the coordinates.

He has also described their claims that he has treated them like criminals as utter nonsense.

"There is some very strong claims made that HMAS Sydney has been found, there is some scepticism about the accuracy about such claims. It's a duty on all of us to investigate these claims, to not have family members left wondering and to not been impeded by so-called confidentiality agreements with media outlets."

Mr Billson says his attempts to contact the group to get the latest information was convoluted.

"I was given some contacts from The West Australian [ newspaper] and from Channel 7 in Western Australia, I was encouraged to contact them to see if it was ok to share that information and then rather a long train of phone calls was required. This is an odd way of going about something that is of national interest and of such personal importance to so many Australian families."

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:51 am
by Daniel Leahy
Here are some more articles from the ABC website relating to this claim...

August 16, 2007: ... 006620.htm
Navy flags delay in HMAS 'Sydney' identification
Posted Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:26am AEST

It is expected to be at least a week before it is known whether a wreck found off the Western Australian coast is the warship HMAS Sydney.

Last week amateur researchers claimed they had found what they believed to be the Sydney off Dirk Hartog Island near Carnarvon.

The Royal Australian Navy vessel was sunk in November 1941 after a battle with the German raider Kormoran.

A Navy survey ship is expected to arrive in the area early this weekend to examine the wreck.

But the researchers have so far refused to provide the excat coordinates of its location.

Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Billson says once the ship arrives it is likely to take another week before the claim can be verified.

He is urging the researchers to immediately tell the Navy where the wreckage is located.
August 17, 2007: ... 007383.htm
Navy to check out HMAS 'Sydney' claim
Posted Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:11am AEST

A Navy ship will arrive off the north coast of Western Australia today to investigate whether a wreck discovered by amateur researchers is that of HMAS Sydney.

A group of amateur researchers claim the warship, sunk by a German raider in 1941, lies on the ocean floor near Dirk Hartog Island.

HMAS Leeuwin is due to arrive near the site today.

The Leeuwin is one of the Navy's survey ships and can chart the ocean floor.

The Navy confirmed on Thursday night that it knows exactly where the wreck is, after the group of researchers came under pressure from the Federal Government to provide details of its location.
August 18, 2007: ... 008724.htm
Wreck not HMAS Sydney: Billson
Posted Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:00pm AEST
Updated Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:53pm AEST

Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs Bruce Billson says a shipwreck found off the Western Australian Gascoyne Coast is not HMAS Sydney.

The Sydney sank off the WA coast in 1941 after a battle with the German raider Kormoran.

A group of researchers claimed last week that they had found the warship on the ocean floor near Dirk Hartog Island.

The Federal Government sent HMAS Leeuwin to the site this week to examine the wreck.

Using sonar technology to map the ocean floor, the Navy found the wreck was too small to be the Sydney and lacked the features of a warship.

Mr Billson says finding the Sydney is of national importance and a large-scale search will start later in the year.

He says the search must be carried out with consideration for the victims' families.

"We're encouraged by people's goodwill and efforts to help solve this mystery, but we need always be mindful of the feelings of the family members just hoping for the final piece of that puzzle," he said.

"We need to keep working to see what we can do to solve that mystery."

Mr Billson says additional funding will be provided to a Sydney search group to help it locate the wreck.

"We've earmarked $2.9 million; we were awaiting what the Navy's assessment was of this more recent claim," he said.

"Now we're in a position to add that $2.9 million to the $1.3 million already allocated to see if we can get that search under way this summer."

Information about the wreck will be sent to the WA Maritime Museum.
August 19, 2007: ... 008848.htm
HMAS 'Sydney' discovery claims 'disgusting'
Posted Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:37am AEST

A former lieutenant commander of HMAS Sydney has described the hype surrounding claims that the World War II ship had been found as disgusting and disrespectful.

The Sydney sank with 645 crew on board in November 1941 after a battle against the German raider Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia.

A group of amateur researchers received widespread media attention last week after claiming a wreck found off the coast of Carnarvon in Western Australia was HMAS Sydney.

Yesterday the claims were proved false when the Australian Navy ship HMAS Leeuwin found the wreck was too small to be the Sydney and was not a warship.

Former lieutenant commander of HMAS Sydney Ean McDonald says the initial media reports were insensitive.

"It must have upset a lot of families who had relatives who went down with the ship," he said.

He says the search for the Sydney must continue and believes researchers may find the wreck further down the coastline.

Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:29 pm
by richard rudd
ABCNews 7am 17 March 2008...HMAS Sydney found. See posts in Search subject.

Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:42 am
by u23b
Here are a few pics of the HMAS Sydney. ... 2420080404


Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:19 pm
by Gyrene
More info on HMAS Sydney including a photo of some lifeboats and a damaged area that caused the ship to sink: ... 93836.html

Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:20 am
by PF
What was difference between last reported position and actual found postion?
Also-ID on unknown crewman found?

Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:04 pm
Interresting. In Middle Europe is light cruiser HMAS Sydney practically unknown .... Only modellers and experts. Thx for links.

Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:55 pm
by richard rudd
There is now a large format hardcover book ( AU$60) produced by David Mearns, who led the Sydney search, and also recently found the Centaur Hospital ship, torpedoed off Brisbane. (Another book to come??)

The HMAS Sydney book contains many fascinating historical and recent pictures,and those show the terrible damage inflicted by the Kormoran at short range.
There is also a large fold-out of the vessel in great detail that would be great interest to any modeller.

Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:11 pm
by Andy in West Oz
It is a good book. I picked mine up for just over A$30 from Big W. Kmart will have similar pricing.

Was thinking the same thing about a Centaur book. They would make a nice pair. I wonder if anyone's going to start talking Montevideo Maru now?

Re: Claim HMAS Sydney wreck found

Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:23 pm
by PF
Any progress?