Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Report on Boat Wreck, Turtle Bay, Abrolhos Islands

Author/s P. Worsley

Year of publication 1995

Report Number: 95

In early March 1995, the Abrolhos Islands fisherman Lance Dennis of the fishing vessel Spindrift, found the wreck of a small boat in Turtle Bay, East Wallabi Island. The wreck was found in shallow water close to the shoreline and consis ted of a keel with attached stern post and stem post, a false keel, the stern knee, a small amount of planking and sundry other pieces of timber, The keel was lying with the stern post approximately 2-3 m from the low water mark and the stem post in about 1- 1.3 m of water further out in a northerly direction. The stern post and most of the keel was buried under sand wi th only the bow showing. (See attached sketch maps by Lance Dennis.)

Turtle Bay is on the northern side of East Wallabi Island, open to the north, north-west and, to a lesser extent, the north-east. There are shallows surrounding Fish Point which projects towards the north-east and forms the eastern arm of Turtle Bay.

Lance Dennis contacted the Geraldton Region Museum regarding his find. He was of the hope that it might be a lifeboat or ship's boat associated with the sinking of HMAS Sydney to the north of this area. The Museum suggested he speak to Jill Worsley and myself. He phoned On 11 March 1995 and said he had brought the wreck from the Abrolhos Islands on the deck of his fishing boat. Jill and I immediately went to the Fishing Boat Harbour and examined the wreckage. Measurements and photographs were taken. It appeared to be part of an engineless sailing boat about 7.6 m (25 tt) long. The vessel was either double-ended or had a very small, tucked up transom.