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Rayville Wreck Site Found

In 2002 the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology reported that after years of frustrated searches, rumours, and aborted dives the City of Rayville (1940) has finally been identified.

The Institute’s newsletter reported the first United States casualty of WWII has been dived, videoed and had artefacts raised for identification. It was also reported that a team of technical divers had raised plates and a firebrick without a permit. With the assistance of a US-based china collector, Heritage Victoria identified the plates as being US pottery, made especially for the vessel’s owners. The divers have been interviewed and formally warned.

The relics were in the custodianship of the Queenscliff Maritime Centre and Apollo Bay Cable Station Museum.

The 5883-ton City of Rayville bound for New York was sunk with its cargo of Port Pirie lead after hitting a German mine in November 1940 – a year before Pearl Harbor. The site lies 15km from Apollo Bay in 82 metres of water, in a shipping lane subject to strong tidal currents. It was declared to be an historic shipwreck in September 1998. (Source: Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Newsletter, June 2002)

Sonar science uncovers grim wartime secret – The Age, 1st April 2009