Stragglers Dredge - Fremantle
GPS: S 32°03.818'
Location: West of Stragglers
Site depth: 14 metres
Divable conditions: < 1.5metres
Visibilty: 5-10 metres
Vessel: Bucket dredge
Vessel length: 40 metres (site length)
Wreck event: Scuttled
Image: Fremantle Bucket Dredge - WA Museum
Located just west of Stragglers Rocks, 4 nautical miles off the entrance to Fremantle Harbour lays the site of a scuttled dredge identified by one of it's finders, Graeme Henderson, as the wreck of the dredge Fremantle. The Fremantle begun work developing and dredging the channel for the Fremantle Harbour project in the 1890's, it was then employed upstream dreging channels in the Swan River and was decommissioned in the 1930's where it was stripped of all fittings and towed out to be scuttled west of Stragglers Rocks.
The dredge was a bucket style dredge design, a series of buckets worked on a steam driven conveyor that would be lowered to the seafloor to "scoop" up the seabed and deposit the spoil into a hopper compartment on the back of the dredge. No machinery remains on the site as it seems this wreck was stripped of all machinery which suits the circumstances surrounding it's identification as the Fremantle Dredge. On the eastern section of the wreck stands a rudder post and steering quadrant indicating it was a self propelled vessel.
Diving the Site:
The site must be accessed by boat, the nearest boat ramp being Woodmans Point in Cockburn Sound where it is around a six mile trip out to the wreck site. The wreck sits in 12-14 metres of water on a broken reef and sand bottom. The stern faces the east and along the southern edge of the wreck is the best and most easily distinguished wreckage. About 50% of the site is covered in kelp and the surrounding reef especially to the north and east are some attractive caves and ledges, visibility would be expect to vary on the site with 10 metres being the best expected conditions. Like most ocean sites,, the site would be ideal with a swell less than 1.5m in height.