Divers revisit the Keilawarra wreck

Photographer Mark Spencer has revisited the 126-year-old shipwreck of the Keilawarra off the coast of Arrawarra. The ship's telegraph is still in the full-astern position.
Photographer Mark Spencer has revisited the 126-year-old shipwreck of the Keilawarra off the coast of Arrawarra. The ship's telegraph is still in the full-astern position. Mark Spencer

IT stands encrusted in marine life, as a stark reminder of the lives lost at sea in one of Australia's greatest maritime disaster.

For 126-years the telegraph of The Keilawarra, the 61-metre iron steam ship that sank near North Solitary Island has risen from the ocean floor suspended in the full astern position.

For photographer Mark Spencer, who revisited the 19th century shipwreck again at the weekend, the telegraph along with the ship's stern offers a haunting insight into the ill-fated voyage.

"The propeller shots I took also show the stern has dropped down over the propeller, such that the prop is now inside the stern," Mark said.

"This is an emotive area of the wreck because it was the area where people clung when the ship was sinking Titanic-like with the stern out of the water."

The Keilawarra was bound for Brisbane when it impacted with a smaller steamer, The Helen Nicoll on the night of December 8, 1886.

Historical accounts say "smoke from the funnels had partly obscured the view ahead, as both vessels maintained full steam."

In scenes later echoed by the sinking of the Titanic, the Keilawarra plunged into the depths just seven minutes after impact.

It took with it some 40 people, while the badly damaged Helen Nicoll limped back to shore.

The Keilawarra last made headlines in February 2010, after Mark Spencer revealed the ship's safe had been plundered by thieves, thought to be professional shipwreck salvagers.

Rediscovered in 73-metres off the coast of Arrawarra in 2000, the wreck was studied for 30 minutes by this latest dive team before their arduous two-and-a-half hour decompression ascent.

Mark Spencer will announce plans to conserve artefacts from the Keilawarra at a SURG (Solitary Islands Underwater Research Group) discussion at the National Marine Science Centre on June 6 at 6.30pm.

For more information go to www.markspencer.com.au

Topics:  conservation, keilawarra, mark spencer, north solitary island, shipwreck, wooli



Local Real Estate

Featured Real Estate
D.I.Y. OR INSTALLED HOME... $9500.00 From
Mobile Home Fully self contained granny flat or mod homes.  D.I.Y $9.5k or $12.5K ...
GRANNY FLAT 2 bedrooms, $250pw + electricity. Located in Boambee Valley. Phone: 0415130637 Re-listed
JULY SPECIAL $24900.00...
Mobile Home 01 01

Featured Jobs

Coffs Coast jobs listed daily

Featured Jobs
Group Sports Manager... Coffs Harbour Full Time
Early Childhood Educator... Woolgoolga Full Time
Team Members Coffs Harbour Full Time


Local Partners

LATEST DEALS AND OFFERS

Cars For Sale

Find cars for sale online now.
Learn More

Property Listings

Search for a property online right now.
Learn More

Local Profile

Stay Connected

Get the news as it happens, in your inbox

You can change the newsletters you are subscribed to when you edit your profile

Edit Profile


Special Offers

Latest deals and offers

Horoscopes

Leo

Record your ideas to get some sort of orderliness going now. Keep a small notepad handy and jot down your ideas as and when they arise. It...

read more

Marketplace

Special Offers & Promotions

Compare & Save