SS Orungal

Location: Barwon Heads
State: VIC
Date Sank: 1940
Vessel Type: Steamer
Construction Material: Steel
Max Depth: 8
Average Depth: 5
Average Visibility: 5
Diver Qualification: Open Water
Access Type: BOAT
Directions: Look for the boilers of the wreck at low tide. Swim straight for them.
Wreck Description: Length in m 118.90248 Beam in m 16.82496 Draft in m 8.56488 Engine specification: Two turbines geared to one shaft, 4 boilers fitted to burn oil, rated 13 knots. Lloyds Machinery Certificate LMC & TSE- 6/1927, boiler This can be a boat dive and can be a shore dive. It is easier of course if it is a boat dive, but due to to the location it is only a couple of days a year a boat can get safely amongst the reef and wreck to drop and retrieve divers so mostly better done as a shore dive by the fit and adgile. This wreck is modern by todays standards and was wrecked around 1940. The ships captain mistook the lights of Barwon Heads for those of Port Phillip (War time lights were masked and difficult to read we are told) and was trying to sail his ship up the river. Anyway it didn't fit up the river and ground to a halt on a reef. It should have been refloated and salvaged except for the fire that broke out on her a couple of days later and almost all of her cargo was lost or thrown overboard in an attempt to save it. The lightened load (eg cargo gone) allowed the ship to drag further onto the reef and made any further attempts to salvage her fruitless. During the war Whelan the Wrecker had a demolition crew on board salvaging what ever they thought they could coz they had the rights to the wreck when early one morning the men on board were woken by the RAAF straffing the wreck for practice. The men quickly jumped overboard and swam ashore with out any loss of life or damage. War time etc there was no big enquiry into it but could you imagine that happening today. Well the seas have been extremely hard on this wreck and knocked the be Jesus out of the hull and not a lot exists other than the boilers and a section of the lower hull. There is extremely good fossicking in this area and a cray or two can almost always be found. Regretably there are next to no abolone left on her these days as it is too accessable to those on surf boards and the like and she is pretty much stripped clean as soon as people find an abolone there. It is a good safe dive and one that we often degass on on our return from something deeper. If approaching this wreck from the Bluff side (Barwon Heads) be mindful of the tides and water movement not to overlook the boats that might be coming out of the river. If swam to from the other side then there is the surf to contend with. Which one of the two evils is the worst is hard to say.