Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6

Sydney, Australia

SS Ayerfield

Nature is leading a successful mutiny on this century-old freighter 

From cargo freighter to floating forest, the SS Ayerfield is a beautifully broken-down wreck, forever locked in Australia’s Homebush Bay.

Once a center of industry, Homebush Bay was unfortunately contaminated with toxic waste and is now a commercial and residential suburb of Sydney after having been refurbished by the economic boom brought on by the 2000 Olympic games. However, the bay’s past as a successful trading port still lingers on in the form of four abandoned freighters slowly rusting in the waters. Once used to transport coal, oil, and war supplies, the ships were eventually decommissioned and simply left where they floated.

The most remarkable of these wrecks is the SS Ayerfield, which has miraculously sprouted a lush forest of mangrove trees. The branches of the thriving trees spill from the sides of the ship, slowly breaking down the hull of the long-lived ship which was originally built in 1911.

The trees have so completely overtaken the ship, it is a wonder that it still floats. The SS Ayerfield may have survived World War II, but nothing can combat the encroaching hand of nature.

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