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Rottnest Island- North side



GPS: S 32° 00.163'

         E 115° 33.452'

Location: Thomson Bay, Rottnest 

Site depth: 2.5 metres

Divable conditions: Protected from swell

Visibilty: 3-10 metres

Vessel: Schooner

Construction: Steel

Tons: 118 tons

Vessel length: 37 metres

Wreck event: Grounded 1942.

One of the most accessible shore based wrecks on Rottnest Island and a great protected snorkel site in Thomson Bay. The 117 ton Uribes was wrecked in 1942, 100 metres west of the Natural Jetty in Thompson Bay. The Uribes had just finished loading machinery and 9 inch shells from the Oliver Hill gun battery when the engines failed as it steamed out of Thomson Bay. The ships anchors failed to hold the vessel off the beach and the 37 metre schooner was soon filled with sand and considered lost with all stores.


GPS: S 31° 59.184'

         E 115° 33.496'

Location: Transit Reef, Thomson Bay

Site depth: 3-7 metres

Divable conditions: <2.0 metres swell

Visibilty: 5-15 metres

Vessel: Cutter

Construction: Jarrah

Tons: 211 tons

Vessel length: 33 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1887.

Only a few metres from the beach, the wreck provides an easy afternoon snorkel but the site can at times be heavily buried by sand movement. The wreck site is protected from the usual south west swell that effects Perth, it is also protected from the south west seabreeze.


Built in Fremantle in 1878, at the time of her wrecking the Janet was the largest vessel to belong to the Fremantle Port. She was returning from a voyage to Columbo carrying wheat and furniture for the Swan River Colony. The 211 ton, 33 metre jarrah schooner hit Transit Reef in the evening of December 11th 1887.   Full of water, her crew were found clinging to the spars of the masts and the vessel was a total wreck by the following morning.

None of the wooden hull structure remains onsite however, two admiralty type anchors as well as a davit, boiler and piping remain  scattered amongst a small cave system with a maximum depth of 7 metres and only 80 metres east of the Macedon Wreck. Like the other wrecks on Transit Reef, the Janet is relatively protected in Thomson Bay. However, swells over 1.5m tend to wrap around the island from the west and will effect the sites of the Janet, Macedon and Denton Holme.


Denton Holme

GPS: S 31° 59.169'

         E 115° 33.402'

Location: Transit Reef, Thomson Bay

Site depth: 7 metres

Divable conditions: <2.0m swell

Visibilty: 5-15 metres

Vessel: Barque

Construction: Iron

Tons: 988 tons

Vessel length: 65 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1890

Wrecked on the 25th September 1890. The 988 ton Denton Holme ran up on Transit Reef carrying a cargo of cement, piping and 300 tons of merchant cargo. As salvage attempts were made, surveyors assessed that due to her difficult postion and having her back broken, any attempt to refloat her would be useless. 


GPS: S 31° 59.202'

         E 115° 33.423'

Location: Transit Reef, Thomson Bay

Site depth: 6 metres

Divable conditions: <2m swell

Visibilty: 5-15 metres

Vessel: Steamer

Construction: Iron

Tons: 532 tons

Vessel length: 63 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1883

One of the largest colonial era wrecks on Rottnest Island the Denton Holme provides a large wreck site for divers. Although the hull has collapsed, the bow still stands up from the reef to within a metre of the surface at low tide. To the north of the wreck is an impressive cave system and 20 meters to the south east lays the wreck of the Macedon. Fully protected, the site has loose artifacts such as glass and coal scattered over the area. Swells over 1.5m tend to wrap around the Island from the west and will effect the sites of the Janet, Macedon and Denton Holme.


The English built 63 metre 532 ton Macedon was wrecked on March 21st 1883. An iron hulled screw steamer, she was beginning a voyage to deliver an expedition to the Kimberley region in the North West. Sailing too close to Rottnest Island for the viewing pleasure of the dignitaries onboard, she ran aground and holed her hull.

Today the Macedon remains one of the most intact iron hulled wrecks on Rottnest, the site extends for almost 50 metres at a depth of 6 metres. Sitting upright, the ribs and gunwhales are still visible for much of the site. Towards the northern end of the wreck remains the boiler for the 100 horse power steam engine, scattered coal and bottle fragments remain inside the hull.


City of York

GPS: S 31° 59.646'

         E 115° 29.340'

Location:  City of York Bay

Site depth: 3-10 metres

Divable conditions: <1.5m swell

Visibilty: 5-15 metres

Vessel: Barque

Construction: Iron

Tons: 1194 tons

Vessel length: 70 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1899

The City of York was first sighted by the Rottnest Lighthouse during the late afternoon of July the 12th approaching from the north. The 68 metre iron hulled Barque was to arrive at Fremantle harbour carrying a cargo of oregon timber with 26 crew, 11 of which perished             at sea during the wrecking event, including the master, Captain Phillip Jones. At 1845, having received no signal from the City of York, the lighthouse keeper challenged the barque to stand off and await a pilot boat by lighting a signal flare at the base of the lighthouse. In the heavy weather Captain Jones misunderstood the signal flare and set a course directly for what he thought was an approaching pilot vessel. The ship sounded 15 to 9 fathoms of water under the hull and at 5 fathoms the breakers were sighted. The City of York was   unable to avoid the reef and was soon wrecked 200 metres from the shore of Rottnest Island. The crew abandoned the vessel in two lifeboats, one of which commanded by the Captain, capsized in the rough conditions resulting in the loss of the 11 crew.

The wreck site lays on a sloping limestone reef north west of City of York Bay at a depth ranging from 4 metres to 10 metres over the sand to the west of the site. Much of the decking is still distinguishable on the shallower section of the reef. The stern and rudder face out to sea with the wreckage on a Northwest axis. Towards the shore lays an anchor and the vessels windlass, sloping towards the west, down the reef lays much of the hull plating with the masts, yard arms and rigging settled on the sandy ocean floor.


Mira Flores

GPS: S 32° 00.368'

         E 115° 28.266'

Location:  Narrow Neck, Rottnest

Site depth: 4-10 metres

Divable conditions: <1.0m swell

Visibilty: 5-15 metres

Vessel: Barque

Construction: Iron

Tons: 500 tons

Vessel length: 49 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1886

Wrecked on the 30th November 1886 on Investigator Reef the Mira Flores lays on the north west corner of Rottnest Island only 900 metres from Rocky Bay. The Mira Flores was a German owned, iron hulled barque of 500 tons first launched in 1867. Sailing from London, the barque was visiting  the Swan River Colony for the second time in her career delivering general merchant cargo and supplies. In the early hours of dawn on the 30th of November her captain tacked and ran her too close to Rottnest Island. The 49 metre Barque was run up on shallow reef and was soon a total wreck.

The site lays in two areas in a high energy, exposed section of reef and is only diveable in low swell. Her stern section remains the most intact in a deep sand hole to the East of the site. The rest of her remains lay on top of the reef heavily covered in kelp, in scattered sections of wreckage over a 60 metre area.

Other wreck sites with little remains on the north side of Rottnest.

The Gem, almost 100 metres east of the Janet. The Gem was lost in 1876 and very little remains of the wreck besides some planking and nails on a site surrounded by sand. A museum plinth is placed at S31° 59.254'  E115° 33.680' nearby some wooden planking.

The Transit, the earliest wreck on Rottnest Island. The Transit wrecked on Duck Rock in 1842, nothing remains of the vessel however an underwater plinth is placed at S31° 59.260' E115° 32.617' adjacent to an interesting cave in the reef.

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