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WAM commemorates 80 yrs since HMAS Sydney’s

Deep Light: Illuminating the Wrecks of Sydney and Kormoran exhibition will be shown at the Museum of Geraldton and WA Museum Boola Bardip to mark the anniversary.

Media Statement, Commemorating 80 years since Australia’s worst naval disaster, Government of Western Australia, 15 November 2021

 

  • November 19, 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Sydney (II) and HSK Kormoran
  • The lives of all 645 men on HMAS Sydney (II) were lost
  • The Deep Light: Illuminating the Wrecks of Sydney and Kormoran free exhibition will be shown at the Museum of Geraldton and WA Museum Boola Bardip to mark the anniversary

For more than 66 years the wrecks of two ships sat silently on the ocean floor, their location a mystery.

HMAS Sydney (II) and the German raider HSK Kormoran both sank after a short, fierce battle on November 19, 1941. 81 men from Kormoran died. All 645 men on Sydney were lost. It is still Australia’s worst naval disaster.

The Western Australian Museum is marking the 80th anniversary of the 1941 disaster with the display of Deep Light: Illuminating the Wrecks of Sydney and Kormoran at the Museum of Geraldton and WA Museum Boola Bardip.

The poignant exhibition features remarkable underwater images of the wrecks and excerpts of interviews with families of those who were lost.

Both wrecks were eventually located in 2008, 200km west of Shark Bay at a depth of 2,500m.

The discovery and inspection of the wrecks helped shed light on one of Australia’s most enduring maritime mysteries.

In 2015 the Western Australian Museum and Curtin University, with vital assistance from DOF Subsea, the Commonwealth Government, GMA Garnet and other supporters, returned to the wrecks and captured stunning underwater images that revealed much about the fate of the ships.

Deep Light is on display at the Museum of Geraldton from November 19, 2021 until February 13, 2022. An exhibit and moving 3D film of the wrecks named From Great Depths is also permanently on display at the Museum.

The WA Museum Boola Bardip is displaying the same exhibition until February 2, 2022 but includes 3D short film Fire on the Water, which uses the images to portray the encounter and final events of the World War II battle off Shark Bay.

Entry to both exhibitions is free.

Comments attributed to Culture and the Arts and Heritage Minister David Templeman:

“The display of Deep Light is an important part of the program of events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Sydney (II).

“The wreck sites of Sydney and Kormoran have a special association with the Australian and German communities – especially the family and friends of the men who were lost.

“The technology used to capture the images shown in Deep Light revealed new information about that fateful day in 1941 which helped understand how both ships met their fate.

“This exhibition also commemorates those brave men on both ships who lost their lives as a result of this encounter.”

Comments attributed to Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton:

“This poignant and important exhibition will be coming to Geraldton from November 19 until February 13 and I urge everyone with an interest in maritime history to go and see it.

“I am particularly pleased to hear that the exhibition will be free so it will be accessible to everyone.”

Minister’s office – 6552 5400

See also:

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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