Victoria’s J Class Submarines: The Refuse of World War I

Lengthy earlier than the Australian Navy willingly purchased reject submarines (learn Collins-class) from the US, we had been the bearer of refuse from the distinguished Royal Navy. They managed to discard not only one however the entire class of their dilapidated subs after WWI, thus all six of them acquired shipped over to Australia on the fifteenth of July 1919. (We may have gotten all seven however the J6 was sunk by pleasant fireplace in 1918) After spending a complete heap of cash on fixing them up the subs had a much less then eventful life down South, little of which was truly spent at sea.

By January 1924 they had been all decommissioned via no fault of their very own, because the protection funds was slashed and the funds to repairs the beasts dried up. A few years later they had been all fortunately resting on the underside of the ocean. To provide credit score the place it is due, the subs had been constructed beneath urgent circumstances i.e. battle and rumors that the Germans already developed far superior subs. Not solely have they got the excellence of being the one triple screw submarines ever constructed, they had been additionally the quickest subs on the time plummeting alongside at 19 knots on the floor and as much as 9.5 knots submerged. And heck, they did see some sizzling and heavy motion through the battle, even destroying quite a lot of enemy ships just like the Grosser Kurfurst and the Magdeburg.

Which means Victorian waters now maintain our very personal piece of WWI historical past and 4 of the subs have develop into thrilling and awe inspiring playgrounds for divers. The opposite two subs aren’t diveable however are nonetheless fascinating within the scheme of issues. J3 Sub The J3 or the Swan Island sub was once visited by divers, regardless of silty circumstances and robust currents. Final time I attempted to enterprise for a better look a person in uniform with a reasonably massive *gulp* megaphone was on the shore earlier than we even equipped chewing our ear off. The sub is throughout the Prohibited Space of Swan Island (Division of Protection Facility) and is subsequently for all intensive functions out of bounds. Given the lengthy navy historical past round Swan Island, I suppose there’s not a lot level arguing. You may nonetheless have a better have a look at and even contact the bronze props of this sub, as they had been eliminated and positioned in a Queenscliff park, reverse the Maritime Museum.


The J7 was sunk as a breakwater point jaco and is true in the course of the Sandringham marina, which principally means it will possibly’t be dived. Given that almost all of it’s out of the water, you may as properly head over for a sticky beak with out the scuba gear and mesmerizing narcosis. It’s truly fascinating to check the sub to its underwater siblings, by way of deterioration and dimension… sure, water does make issues look larger!

So this brings us to the 4 diveable subs the J1, J2, J4 and J5. They vary from being simply accessible just like the J4 to being downright not possible to get on, just like the J2 or the ‘damaged sub.’ (thoughts you this may very well be simply me) The subs are superior they usually make for a tremendous dive.


Depth: 28m max

The J4, generally often called the ’26m sub’ has acquired to be probably the most dived sub of all of them and with good motive. It has a handy depth, is well accessible and is a bloody nice dive. It is just about intact apart from the bow which is damaged off and exposes the torpedo tubes, whereas making a handy entrance to the bowels of the sub. The bow and conning tower are the extra fascinating components of the sub. There’s a plaque on the conning tower devoted to the divers who found it in 1982. There’s loads of fish life across the prime of the sub, together with prolific colleges of bullseyes and butterfly perch. There’s a good bit of progress on the hull, principally kelp but in addition some colourful sponges. The strict is sort of collapsed, just about merging into the reef and is a tad boring actually. The true enjoyable nonetheless is inside it!

Contained in the subs it’s extremely peaceable… there are streams of sunshine bearing in via the cracks and holes. When the vis is nice you may see straight via the sub – it is magical. Being inside it offers you a tremendous feeling and there is plenty of cool stuff to see. When you’re fortunate you will see the resident blue satan fish. When the solar is down (or does not hassle getting up as is usually the case round Melbourne) it will get fairly darkish down there, so a torch is a welcome addition to the package. So long as it is not too surgy the 26m sub is instantly penetrable. There are massive openings all alongside it that may readily function an entry/exit level. If there’s surge nonetheless, these openings will be harmful as they’ll suck you in after which shove you up, washer model.

The one tighter part is across the stern… more often than not it is fairly rattling apparent if you should not be wedging your self in there – as quickly as you set your head close to the outlet to go in, it nearly will get blown off by the surge! The perfect half concerning the 26m sub is the depth and because of this the period of time you may spend exploring. You may simply penetrate the size of the sub… after which some. The sub acquired a good beating through the wild storms in summer season 2005 and there are some apparent modifications. The bow space is all ripped up and bits of metallic sheet are in all places. Now that the ribs are uncovered it truly makes it extra photogenic, nevertheless it additionally means it is extra fragile than ever earlier than so take care when diving it.

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