Resting in Pieces….

Treasured Collections – Memories, Ship Memorabilia and Connections between People and the Garden Island Ships’ Graveyard

From 1909 to 1945 the North Arm of the Port Adelaide River became the final destination for many vessels which had outlived their usefulness―casualties of technological change, of the Great Depression and two world wars, or simply of disrepair and accidental damage. The 25 wrecks known to have been abandoned in the North Arm are a varied group of dredges, barges, pontoons and ferries as well as sailing ships and steamers. Many ended their working lives in the Port as store ships and tenders. One became a footbridge and another, a floating grain mill. The ships include the Dorothy H. Sterling, Enterprise, Flinders, Garthneill, Gem, Glaucus, Grace Darling, Juno, Killarney (formerly Success), Lady Daly, Mangana (also Mungana), Moe, Santiago, Sarnia, Seminole, Stanley, Sunbeam, and Thomas and Annie.

Flinders University in conjunction with the South Australian Maritime Museum, is researching the Garden Island Ships’ Graveyard – the vessels that were broken up there, objects salvaged from these vessels before they were abandoned, and personal connections between the Port Adelaide community and the Graveyard and its ships.

Did you or someone in your family work at the Garden Island Ships’ Graveyard in Port Adelaide?

Did you or someone in your family work or travel on any of the ships that were abandoned there?

Do you or does someone in your family have any artefacts or photographs relating to any of the Graveyard’s ships?

The principal researcher of the Treasured Collections project is Erica-Jane Miller, an Archaeology Honours student at Flinders University. Participants will be asked to complete a short questionnaire and possibly also to participate in a follow-up interview. If you or someone in your family would like to share your story, please contact us at or write to Treasured Collections, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Sturt Road (HUM 277), Bedford Park SA 5042, to receive the questionnaire and additional information about this project.

All research involving human participants requires ethics approval. This research project has received approval from the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee (Project Number 7984), registered with the NHMRC.