Monthly Archives: March 2008

HMAS Sydney can finally Rest in Peace

The sad saga of the fate of the HMAS Sydney can finally be put to rest. One of Australia’s greatest maritime mysteries has at last been solved and it is time for families, friends and the nation to properly mourn the 645 souls who lost their lives defending our coastline in 1941 .

The events unfolded like this…Late February, early March, 2008, wreck hunter David Mearns was commissioned by the Finding Sydney Foundation to locate the HMAS Sydney. After his vessel the S V Geosounder developed a few technically glitches, the search resumed in early March with the aim of locating the HSK Kormoran first.

On the 14th of March, 2008, the wreckage of the HSK Kormoran was discovered on the ocean bed at a depth of 2,560 m, approximately 112 nautical miles off Steep Point, Shark Bay. Hans Linke (the Kormoran’s wireless operator), made claims in 1996 to The Australian newspaper, that both ships were virtually stationary when the Kormoran fired an underwater torpedo at the Sydney, disabling her instantly. If this was the case, then the HMAS Sydney would, in theory, be nearby.

Two days later on 16th March, news broke that they had located the hull of a ship, believed to be that of the HMAS Sydney. The location was 11 nautical miles from the location of the wreck of the German raider, Kormoran. News groups were reluctant to announce the finding until they absolutely sure it was in fact the Sydney. The West Australian newspaper was still smarting from their blunder last year, when they announced the discovery, only to find out later it was the remains of an old barge.

So with the finding of the hull of the HMAS Sydney so too goes many of the rumours, speculation and conspiracy theories surrounding the fate of the ship. Though, I guess a few local pubs around Carnarvon and Geraldton will be abuzz with all the stories that have, over the years, turned into folklore. None more so than the one about the sailors being captured by a Japanese submarine and later murdered. But I am sure over the coming months, questions will be asked as to why so many of the crew of the Kormoran survived the battle whilst no one from the Sydney did. To find out more click here HMAS Sydney.

LEST WE FORGET

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Filed under WA History, WA Shipwrecks

Save Jacob’s Ladder

If you waJacob’s Laddernt somewhere to view compulsive addictive behavior, swing by Jacob’s Ladder (Cardiac Hill) any old day of the week, and there you will find us. Sweaty Betty’s of all shapes and sizes going up and down the 241 concrete steps, which hang at a 43 degree angle off the side of Mt Eliza. Every person has their own special reason for being there, whether it is simply for fitness, too many business lunches or training for the Kokoda trail / Mt Everest, you name it, they are there. You can run, walk, limp or slowly trundle up the steep incline (doing well to keep to the left, if you don’t want to be bowled over by the descending herds). You can do it once, twice, thirty times, no one cares, because everyone is just looking at their feet. Even when you get to the top, don’t be surprised if no one talks to you, it isn’t that they don’t want to, it is just there isn’t enough air in their lungs. I have found some comfort in knowing that the Mounts Hospital is at the bottom of the ladder , but I pity the fools who would have carry/drag me down there.

Jacob’s LadderJacob’s Ladder was originally constructed in 1909 and consisted of 221 jarrah steps. During the 1960’s the ladder became somewhat dangerous and was replaced with a concrete version. Interestingly, it was a local who gave the ladder its name when they placed a sign reading “This way to Jacob’s Ladder”.

My grandparents actually met and fell in love at the top of Jacob’s Ladder in the 1920’s, where the turnstile use to be .

Trying To Pull Down The Icon

It was recently announced that the Perth City Council are considering removing Jacob’s Ladder permanently so they can build more high rises. It is so so typical….. I shall keep you informed of further developments (pardon the pun).

So where can you find this horror hill ? It is at the end of Cliff Street, West Perth (near the King’s Park entrance) or an easier way is to simply follow the trail of sweat. Just a word of warning I would be careful what you touch eg, handrails, seats, water fountain , I wasn’t kidding about the trail of sweat!

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Filed under Physical Activities