Europa

GPS: S 30° 24.162'

         E 114° 59.147'

Location: Hill River- Jurien Bay

Site depth: 3-14 metres

Divable conditions: <1.0metre swell

Visibilty: 5-10 metres

Vessel: Barque

Construction: Iron

Tons: 756 tons

Vessel length: 57 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1897

The British built but Italian owned 3 masted barque the Europa was wrecked on Three Breaks Reef 8 miles south of the Jurien Bay marina, directly west of the Hill River mouth 4 miles from shore. The 756 ton barque hit the reef during the morning of the 10th January 1897 and quickly filled with water. While the Captain sought help, the crew of the Europa set up a camp on the adjacent beach under orders to watch over the wreck to prevent any other ships to claim salvage and unload the cargo. The barque was carrying a general cargo which included quantities of alcohol destined for the Swan River Colony. When the coastal trader the Lubra found the wreck unattended and began unloading the cargo, the crew of the Europa where reportedly still on the beach busy indulging in the alcohol taken from the hold.

Wrecked on top of the reef in 3 metres of water, the site steps down to the south to around 8 metres where much of the cargo has spilled onto the sea floor, further to the south west of the site an impressive swim through and a natural sink reaching down to 14 metres that has collected various pieces of shattered cargo and wreckage. After a century of wave energy the cargo of bottles and china have been smashed into millions of pieces littering the seafloor. When we first used to dive this site in 2012 a number of intact bottles remained neatly stacked half buried in the sand in their wooden crates, unfortunately a during a dive in 2014, these bottles, one of the best points of interest for the site had been disturbed and artefacts either removed or strewn across the seafloor. The Europa wreck still remains a very interesting site given that like the Sepia it is one of the very few wrecks still with cargo, even if all smashed beyond recognition. Given the shallow area of the wreck and its proximity to breaking swell the site should be approached with caution and only dived in low swell. Like most wrecks, the site is fully protected from interference by the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.