Anniversary of the sinking of the SS Yongala

23 March 2021

On this day in 1911, the single screw steamer SS Yongala was bound for Townsville. The ship left Mackay and steamed into a late-season cyclone. The Yongala succumbed to the storm in waters off Cape Bowling Green. This year marks 110 years since the tragic loss of the vessel and its estimated 122 passengers and crew. The Yongala is in 20-30 metres of water and a protected historic shipwreck declared under the Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018.

Today the Yongala is a dynamic mid-reef system with a uniquely structured fish community containing at least 122 different species (PDF). The site is regularly identified as one of the top ten recreational dive sites in the world, accessed by dive charter businesses from Cairns to the Whitsundays, with day charter vessels launching from Townsville and Alva Beach.