Vessel type: Minesweeper
Date lost: November 20, 1940
Cause of loss: Collision
Number of Casualties: 24
Discovery date: Known location since sinking
Location/water depth: 18 metres
On the dark, windy night of November, 20, 1940, the 223-ton minesweeper HMAS Goorangai was sailing from her anchorage off Queenscliff to the more sheltered coast off Portsea, in Port Phillip, when she was sliced in two by the much larger outward-bound liner Duntroon.
The Duntroon launched two lifeboats, but none of Goorangai’s 24 crew members could be saved. Six bodies were later found.
At a subsequent court of enquiry, blame was laid on the captain of the Duntroon for not keeping an adequate watch at the time of the accident. However, as none of the crew of the Goorangai survived evidence was lacking and there was fierce debate about whether either ship was displaying navigation lights, which were theoretically banned during wartime.
The Goorangai, originally built as a trawler in 1919, was converted to a minesweeper at the outbreak of World War II.
A memorial plaque has been placed underwater at the site of the wreck, which is now considered a war grave. Divers need to obtain permission from Heritage Victoria before diving at the site. There is also an annual commemoration service at the Minesweepers memorial cairn, Shortland’s Bluff, Queenscliff.
Objects of interest (artefacts, images or other collection items) associated with the shipwreck story.
AMMC Member Institution
Queenscliffe Maritime Museum Inc
submitted by Graham Pope and Robert Styles
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