Inside the incredible lost shipwreck of an Australian freighter torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War II as it’s discovered 77 years later
- SS Wollongbar II found by local fishing community off NSW mid-north coast
- Freight vessel destroyed by Japanese torpedoes, killing 32 people on-board
- Ship was carrying butter and bacon when it was destroyed in 1943
- SS Wollongbar’s load washed up on shore sparking a boom in cake making
An Australian coastal freighter from World War II has been found 77 years after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.
The SS Wollongbar II was discovered off Crescent Head on the New South Wales mid-north coast and confirmed by archaeologists from Heritage NSW.
The freight vessel was carrying butter and bacon when it was destroyed by two torpedoes in 1943, killing 32 people on-board.
The food washed up on shore and was found by residents along the coastline who were under strict wartime food rationing leading to a boom in cake-making.
The SS Wollongbar II – a coastal freighter sunk by a Japanese torpedo during the Second World War – has been discovered 77 years later by local fishermen on the New South Wales mid-north coast
The sonar scan of the sunken ship which was confirmed by archaeologists from Heritage NSW
Acting Minister for Veterans Geoff Lee said only five crew survived the attack.
‘We have just commemorated our brave veterans on Anzac Day but it’s also important to remember the toll of war for everyday Australians,’ Mr Lee said in statement on Monday.
‘This secret has been hidden at the bottom of the deep sea for decades and the find will give some closure for descendants and relatives of the 32 people who lost their lives.’
Oxley MP Melinda Pavey said a significant part of the Mid North Coast’s wartime history has been solved with the shipwreck’s discovery.
‘The Crescent Head and Port Macquarie fishing industry cooperated brilliantly to help solve this mystery,’ she said.
The ship wreck of the SS Wollongbar II which was one of many vessels lost to enemy fire along Australia’s eastern coastline during the war
The Wollongbar had been carrying boxes of butter and bacon which washed up on shore after the ship sunk
MP Melinda Pavey said a significant part of the Mid North Coast’s wartime history has been solved with the shipwreck’s discovery (Wollongbar II pictured)
The state government hopes to unearth more details about the lives of those on the SS Wollongbar II and urged those who were relatives of the crew to contact Heritage NSW.
‘We want relatives of those who sailed on the SS Wollongbar II to get in contact, so we can share findings of the survey conducted by our archaeologists,’ director of heritage operations at Heritage NSW Tim Smith said.