Chaudiere

GPS: S 34° 12.985'

         E 115° 01.917'

Location: Hamelin Bay

Site depth: 5 metres

Divable conditions: Swell <1.5m

Visibilty: 5-10 metres

Vessel: Barque

Construction: Wood

Tons: 470

Vessel length: 41 metres

Wreck event: Grounded 1883

The Chaudiere was built in Sunderland in the north east of England in 1863, it was built to 41 metres with a beam of 8.9 metres. 20 years into its career (1883) it was owned by Maurice Coleman Davies in Western Australia and was employed to carry timber from the south west forrestry to the ports of the east coast of the Australian continent. On the 4th of July 1883 the Chaudiere had spent almost 2 months anchored in Hamelin Bay and was loaded with timbers, awaiting the arrival of the captain who was ashore sourcing parts for the repair of the ship's pumps. On the night of the 3rd, the wind shifted north and increased in strength causing the Chaudiere to drag its anchors in the direction of the shore. The next morning the Captain was aboard the vessel and more cable had been layed out however, the vessel still went hard aground just off the beach in 5 metres of water and was soon lost as the wind grew in strength and the order was given for the crew to abandoned the vessel.

The wreck site for the Chaudiere sits just off the beach north of the Hamelin Bay Caravan Park and boat ramp and is easily accessible even as a shore dive. The site measures around 30 metres by 10 metres and has considerable amounts of the hull still exposed.  Neatly stacked in the centre of the site remains the timber sleepers that were loaded as cargo and destined for the east coast and over the site also remains numerous copper nails, fittings and hull sheathing. The site is surrounded by sand and anchoring off the side of the site is very easy, it sits in 5 metres of water. This part of the bay is somewhat protected by swell however being so close to the shore break and being a site surrounded by sand, it stirs up easily. * Like all sites older than 75 years it is fully protected from interference under the historic shipwrecks act.