The Floating Forest of Homebush Bay, Sydney

Dec 5, 2015 2 comments

The affluent suburb of Homebush Bay on the south bank of the Parramatta River, in the inner west of Sydney, was once the dumping ground for a large range of industrial wastes including a few decommissioned ships. Private companies would pay a monthly fee to the Maritime Services Board, and tow in vessels that had outlived their useful lives in order to break them up to salvage steel and parts that could be reused. Ship-breaking operations began in 1966, but ended prematurely before all the ships moored in the bay could be broken down. At least four ships’ hull and the remains of several barges and smaller vessels are still visible in Homebush Bay. These are protected under the historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976 which applies to all shipwrecks over seventy five years old. One of the most photogenic shipwreck in Homebush Bay is that of SS Ayrfield.


Photo credit: Rodney Campbell/Flickr

SS Aryfield began its life as SS Corrimal at Grangemouth Dockyard Company, United Kingdom in 1911. It was a steel-hulled, single screw, steam collier of 1,140 tons and 70 meters in length. SS Corrimal was purchased by the Commonwealth Government and used to transport supplies to American troops stationed in the Pacific region during WWII. In 1950, it was sold to Bitumen and Oil Refineries Australia Pty Ltd and in 1951 sold to the Miller Steamship Company Ltd and renamed Ayrfield. The ship was decommissioned in 1972, and sent to Homebush Bay for breaking-up.

The shipbreaking yard ceased operation before SS Aryfield could be torn apart. Now abandoned and lying in the shallow waters of Homebush Bay, the ship has become home to a lush green, miniature floating forest.


Photo credit: Brent Pearson/Flickr


Photo credit: Rodney Campbell/Flickr


Photo credit: Steve Dorman/Flickr


Photo credit: Gafa Kassim/Flickr


Photo credit: Rodney Campbell/Flickr


Photo credit: Tina Reynolds/Flickr


Photo credit: Travis Chau/Flickr

Sources: / Wikipedia


  1. I don't know what it is about this particular ship but it gives off an air of sadness.

  2. Um, if it were actually *floating* then it would rise and fall with the water level as the tides change. It doesn't, as the photos show. It's a forested artificial island.


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