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You are here: Peninsula Interesting things

Peninsula

SS Australia

On 21 June 1904,a ship called the SS Australia, built in Greenrock Scotland in 1892, hit Corsair Rock, a point on the Point Nepean Reef that has plaqued ships around that area for years. The reef tore a 5 metre hole in the side of the ship and the ship floundered for some time.

It was established by the company underwriting the Australia, that it was not economical to re-float or to rescue the ship, so over a period of weeks, divers rescued as much of the cargo as they could.

It was then decided to auction off the remainder of the cargo and the ship due to an impending bout of bad weather that threatened the further salvage operation. It was bought  by a Mr John George Aikman, who bought it for the princely sum of £290 and the remaining cargo for another £60. He then proceeded to continue removing the cargo, as the weather held and most of the fittings were able to be  removed as well.

Quite a bit of valuable merchandise was removed from the Australia, which made the unexpected purchase worth the costs until, succumbing to the inevitable, the bow section broke away form the remainder of the ship and disappeared. The remainder of the ship was burnt out in a strange fire which burned for a period of five days before finally being extinguished.

Over two years later, the remainder of the burnt out hulk broke up and it was determined to use explosives to disintegrate the remainder of the ship.

Mr Aitken reportedly made a profit of £180,000. Not bad for a £350 investment.