Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Wrecks of Homebush Bay

The Wrecks of Homebush Bay
SS Ayrfield
Ayrfield (originally launched as SS Corrimal) was a steel-hulled, single screw, steam collier of 1140 tonnes and 79.1m in length. It was built in the UK in 1911 and registered at Sydney in 1912. It 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. Under the Miller flag, it operated as a collier between Newcastle and Miller’s terminal in Blackwattle Bay. Here is a description of the collier entering Blackwattle Bay:
As a teenager I went to sea on the
Ayrfield, one of R. W. Miller’s colliers. It took great skill by the helmsman to steer the ship through the opening of the Glebe Island swing bridge in the darkness of night.
The ship had to have a reasonable speed to negotiate the opening as there was only a few metres clearance on either side. As we swung to port to berth in Blackwattle Bay, the vessel would slow ready to berth, and if the tide was low with a full cargo on board, the hull would scrape the muddy bottom. Skipper Ron Archer would carry out this manoeuvre effortlessly.”
The registration of
Ayrfield was cancelled on 6 October 1972 and the old collier sent to Homebush Bay for breaking-up. The hull is located near the mouth of Haslams Creek with the bow pointing towards the shore.