Start: Mid 2016
Finish: Early 2017
Just 25 metres from the shore at Coogee Beach, the dive and snorkel trail surrounds the Omeo shipwreck and includes artificial reefs, underwater sculptures and educational signage. At 230 metres long and between one to eight metres deep, the underwater trail is perfect to snorkel and scuba dive with an array of marine life around the reef.
Land lovers can enjoy a universally accessible trail along the pathways at Port Coogee, (developed by Frasers Property Australia) featuring maritime artefacts as well as a viewing area to the Omeo shipwreck. Stairs have also been built for ease of access over the rock groyne.
A purpose-built dive reef features 33 fibre reinforced concrete modules ranging in height from 1- 5 metres, a swim through section, a giant 6mx2m starfish sculpture and a bronze sea lion standing 1.3m tall. The sea lion has been installed on a large footing a few meters offshore in shallow water, allowing the bronze sculpture to rise 1m above the water at low tide and be visible from the Port Coogee promenade for all to enjoy.The modules were designed by marine engineers and scientists to attract and support fish, crays and molluscs.
Two historic relics including an old railway wheel and an admiralty anchor and stock have also been placed on the underwater trail. The two relics were discovered during the excavation of Elizabeth Quay in 2014. They were thought to have been used as moorings around the turn of the 19th century when the Swan River was a bustling port. Donated by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, the items are accompanied by information plaques.
History of the Omeo shipwreck
The Omeo is a historically significant and federally protected iron steamship that was built in 1858 in Newcastle, England and later converted to a sailing ship. It was used to lay the Bass Strait Telegraph cable, and the Overland Telegraph linking Australia to Britain via Singapore.
Apart from international trade, the vessel travelled intercolonial passenger networks. It traded for many years between Adelaide, Melbourne and New Zealand, and infamously collided with and wrecked the Swan Spit pile lighthouse in Port Phillip in 1881, before becoming a coal hulk.
The Omeo ended its days in Fremantle, where it parted cables, was driven ashore and wrecked in 1905. It was then blown close to Coogee Beach and has rested just 25 metres from the shore without many people knowing about it
This City of Cockburn received a $78,000 grant from Lotterywest to help build the trail in partnership with the Western Australian Museum, Murdoch University Divers and Perth NRM.
The City has established a research partnership with The University of Western Australia for ongoing monitoring of the expected changes in fish, invertebrate and other marine life at the artificial reef.
The City’s partnership with the WA Museum has provided significant maritime historical information to develop and install the underwater interpretive signage.
More information and contact
Find out about exploring the Coogee Maritime Trail.
For more information about the project, contact 08 9411 3444 or email [email protected].