The Dive Victoria Group leads the way with single visits, multi day tours and specialized diver training on the Ex HMAS Canberra since she was scuttled in 2009.
In conjunction with The Victorian Artificial Reef Society (VARS), Tourism Victoria and the Victorian government we secured the Ex HMAS Canberra for scuttling in the vicinity of Port Phillip Heads and she was scuttled in October 2009. This purpose scuttled wreck completes the vast array of dive sites that Port Phillip Bay and surrounds has to offer.
Launched in 1 December 1978, the HMAS Canberra FFG-02 was built by Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation in Seattle, Washington, USA. The second of six similar FFG-7 Class Guided Missile Frigates, she was commissioned on 21 March 1981. The HMAS Canberra and her five sister frigates (HMA Ships Adelaide, Sydney, Darwin, Melbourne and Newcastle), were the first Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships to be powered by gas turbines for their main propulsion.
The HMAS Canberra's role was to operate with other maritime forces to help keep the world's sea lanes open and free by providing protection for military and merchant convoys. To achieve this she was specifically designed to simultaneously counter the threats posed by submarines, air, surface and subsurface launched missiles and enemy warships. Accordingly, the ship was fitted with long range radar, sonar and electronic surveillance sensors which were co-ordinated by high speed computers to provide data for the ship's weapon systems.
The weapons systems of the HMAS Canberra FFG-02 included ship-borne and helicopter-borne torpedo delivery systems, surface to air and surface to surface guided missiles, a rapid firing gun and electronic decoy devices. This weapons fit was intended to provide an in-depth defence for both the ship and the force or convoy she was protecting.
The HMAS Canberra was powered by two computer controlled gas turbine engines operating through a controllable pitch propellor to give the ship high manoeuvrability and the ability to be "on-line" in less than one eight of the time required by steam turbine ships.
The dive site offers the opportunity to explore a large portion of the ex-HMAS Canberra, including flight decks, bridge, engine rooms, galley and the accommodation quarters. Prior to scuttling they left as much inplace for divers to see including vices, engines, chairs, cooking equipment, clothes presses and more.
The wreck lies with the bow facing South and is listing 30 degrees to the Starboard side. The maximum depth of the dive site is 31m around the prop shafts and under the stern, with the majority of the wreck above 28m. The masts rise to 8m, with the Top deck between 15-17m.
The point of the bow rises to 18m and is encrusted with corals and large kelp. The Main Deck sits between 20 and 22m with the Flight Deck at 23m. The elevator shaft located in the middle of the wreck can help you access all levels. The engine room at the bottom of the wreck is about 28m deep.
Divers are able to access the superstructure of all decks. Highlights are the mural in the mess hall, the captain's cabin and his chair in the bridge. The galley is a mess with lots of overturned tables, benches and cooking appliances giving the feel of a true shipwreck.
Prior to scuttling most of the wreck was left intact to create additional interest for divers, plus nooks and crannies for creatures. There are hazards associated with wreck diving so please take care and only enter the wreck if you are appropriately trained equipped and if conditions allow.
|Certification||Logged Dives||Max Depth||Orientation Dives||Penetration||Redundent Gas|
|O/W with Wreck||less 50||18||2||Yes Max 18m||No|
|O/W with Wreck||more 50||18||1||Yes Max 18m||No|
|ADV+ with wreck||less 50||30||2||Yes||Yes|
|ADV+ with wreck||more 50||30||1||Yes||Yes|
|Basic tech +||more 50||30||0||Yes||Yes|
|Deep Cavern +||more 50||30||0||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced Wreck||more 50||30||0||Yes||Yes|
The above are guidelines. It is recognised that many divers may have relevant experience without gaining the listed qualifications and the dive opperator may recognise this expertise accordingly.