Benan

GPS: Bow S 22°44.469' E 113°40.475'

Stern S 22°44.509' E 113°40.484

Location: Jane's Bay, Ningaloo Station

Site depth: 3-9 metres

Divable conditions: <0.5 metre swell

Visibilty: 5-15 metres

Vessel: Barque

Construction: Steel

Tons: 1,415 tons

Vessel length: 74 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1888

The 75 metre Benan was a 1415 ton iron barque that was lost on the Ningaloo Reef on night of the 23 December. The barque, travelling on a northerly bearing was pushed eastwards towards the Ningaloo Reef in the night by a north west current that was not charted on the ship's navigational charts. After the initial wrecking the barque was pinned harder against the reef by the Indian Ocean swell and the crew abandoned ship while waves broke over her decks. Standing out to sea in the lifeboats through the night, the crew were unable to reboard the Benan the next day, leaving them stranded on a deserted West Australian beach the next morning. Marooned with no food but a barrel of flour that floated ashore and little water the crew were assisted by local aborigines and were walked inland to a nearby station.

The Benan site needs extremely low swell and usually sits beneath the breakers in the marine sanctuary off Jane's Bay. The wreck lays almost starboard side to the reef with the bow facing north, in a depth of 3 metres at the bow and 8 metres at the rudder. The site rates among the most impressive of the Ningaloo wreck sites, it is a huge clean site like most Ningaloo wrecks, with the features of the wreck easily distinguishable with an abundance of marine life. Numerous anchors, masts sections, ship's machinery and a few portholes fused to the reef all lay amongst the twisted wreckage. Like all historic wrecks older than 75 years it is fully protected from disturbance and interference under the Historic Shipwrecks Act.