Adelaide, South Australia
Type of dive: Wreck
Access: Boat only (20 minutes)
Minimum qualification: Open Water
Depth: 15-21 metres (50-70’)
Visibility: 5-15 metres (15-40’)
Water temperature: 17°C (63°F) – 20°C (69°F)
Best time to visit: December – June
Snorkelling: No, too deep
|Type: Self-propelled cutter suction dredge|
|Launched: Holland, 1911||Sunk: 1985 (scuttled)|
|Length: 41.9m (137.5’)||Beam: 3.5m (11.6’)|
|Displacement: 395 tons||Speed: Unknown|
|Crew: Unknown||Passengers: Nil|
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the South Australian Dive Industry was instrumental in gaining government approval for a series of artificial reefs.
The result to date is two tyre reefs; the Grange Tyre Reef (late 1970s) and the Glenelg Tyre Reef (1983), and the sinking of several disused vessels, all close to the city of Adelaide.
The Glenelg Dredge and the nearby Glenelg Barge are part of the underwater fleet which also includes three barges – The Stanvac Barges (1954), The Lumb (1994), MV Seawolf (2002) and Ex-HMAS Hobart (2002) which is a must do dive.
In 1912 the Glenelg Dredge, originally named ‘South Australian’, joined the bucket dredge ‘Adelaide’, the tug ‘Tandanya’ and two hoppers to become part of one Australia’s most up-to-date dredging fleets. She spent most of the next 70 years working around Port Adelaide and the Outer Harbour before being laid up in 1982.
After being stripped, she was scutteld in 1983 and now lays upright and intact on sand in 21 metres (70’) of water. The depth of the deck is 15 metres (50’). The suction crane on the bow and the boilers in the engine room are quite obvious.
The wreck supports many species of fish including brown spotted boarfish, long-snouted boarfish, various leatherjacket species and dusky morwong, plus schools of common bullseye, old wives and long-finned pike.
Graceful blue devils, rock ling and cuttlefish can be spotted under the wreck and on the sand, next to the wrecks, common sawshark have been sighted albeit but rarely.
In 1984 she was joined by the Glenelg Barge, a hopper barge used by the South Australian. The barge is only 30 metres (100’) from the dredge and there is a star dropper trail set up to assist navigation between the two wrecks.
Both wrecks can easily be dived on the same dive.
Penetration of the wrecks by untrained and ill-equipt divers is not recommended due to the dangers of tight compartments, sharp rusting metal and silt.
Copyright C 2015 Steve Sinclair
Other great dive sites to visit while you are there:
Ex-HMAS Hobart, Broken Bottom, Port Noarlunga, MV Seawolf and Glenelg Tyre Reef.