Sydney’s secret floating forest

Did you know: Floating off the coast of Homebush Bay lies a massive forest growing inside a hundred year old wreckage?

That’s right, Sydney has its own floating forest of full-grown mangrove trees.

Image: Louise Evangelique

The area used to be a ship-breaking yard that dismantled gigantic warships that served Australia in WWII.

SS Ayrfield was one of these ships: a steel-hulled, single screw, steam collier that weighed 1140 tons and 79.1m in length. It was built in the UK in 1911 and registered at Sydney in 1912 – and later used as a transport ship in WWII. It served a long career for the Aussies.

However, in 1972 it was brought to Homebush Bay to be dismantled. It’s days of glory were over, and it was set to be destroyed. Before anything could happen, however, the shipyard closed and the SS Ayrfield was forgotten.

Then the trees moved in!

Today, the hull is located near the mouth of Haslams Creek with the bow pointing towards the shore, and leafy foliage creeping over it’s rusty exterior. It’s a magical sight in our harbour.

Parts of other ships can be found in the harbour by keen observers, most notable the SS Mortlake Bank, steam tugboat SS Heroic, and boom defence vessel the HMAS Karangi. But none can boast the impressive forest of SS Ayrfield.


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