A Tale of Two Cyclones
This display of underwater photographs of the Yongala shipwreck, stripped bare of her protective coral covering by category five Cyclone Yasi in 2011, illustrates the fragility of the world-famous wreck and its place as a habitat for marine life.
The Yongala, recognised as one of the world’s top ten dive sites and nationally significant due to the number of lives lost during her tragic sinking, went down in a cyclone off Cape Bowling Green south of Townsville in 1911.
After Cyclone Yasi crossed the North Queensland coast last year, the first divers to visit the Yongala discovered that it had been scoured of life and suffered new damage from the forces of nature.
Fish and colonising marine organisms had almost disappeared from the site, exposing bare metal in many places and revealing some previously unseen details of the engines and boilers as these images show.
These incredible images document a major milestone in the life of a shipwreck, and future researchers will be able to use them as a comparison in documenting the return of marine life and the inevitable deterioration of the ship’s structure.
The images on display have been provided by David Wachenfeld with additional content from Paddy Waterson, Heritage Officer from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
A Tale of Two Cyclones runs until late 2012.