Located on the south bank of the Parramatta River in Sydney is Homebush Bay. At this picturesque spot, you’ll find one of the city’s best-kept secrets — shipwrecks, in the heart of Sydney. At least four abandoned freighters can be found disintegrating in the water. One of these, the SS Ayrfield could easily be one of the most photographed spots in the city. Aside from being an abandoned vessel, it’s also home to lush foliage of full-grown mangrove trees sprouting out of the shipwreck, creating a small albeit fascinating floating forest that is especially appealing to photography enthusiasts around Sydney. Read all about it below.
SS Ayrfield floating forest
You can find the remains of this shipwreck close to the shore and it can be spotted from land.
A brief history of SS Ayrfield can be found on a large metal plaque at Shipwreck Point which is located about a five-minute walk from the shipwreck. The 1,140-tonne steamship was originally built in 1911 and registered in Sydney in 1912. During WWII, it was used by the government to transport supplies to American troops in the Pacific region. It was brought to Homebush Bay in 1972 to be broken up and discarded.
While SS Ayrfield may be the most popular shipwreck, many visitors don’t realise that there are at least three other shipwrecks at the spot — the SS Heroic, HMAS Karangi and SS Mortlake Bank. The seeds of mangrove plants could have found their way to the ships by birds who scattered them there. Over time some of these seeds would have germinated and transformed into what is today a full-fledged floating forest.
How to get there
You can spot the shipwrecks from the shoreline of Wentworth Point and Sydney Olympic Park. Either start from the Archery Centre car park or take the longer and more scenic route from the Badu Mangroves car park. Find a more detailed map on how to get there here.