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"Australia's Oldest Naval Mystery" Solved After More Than 100 Years

An incredible discovery

"Australia's Oldest Naval Mystery" Solved After More Than 100 Years Getty

The Minister of Defence has declared "Australia's oldest naval mystery" solved after the discovery of a submarine lost more than 100 years ago.

In a statement, Senator Marise Payne revealed that the HMAS AE1, which was lost off Rabaul on 14 September 1914 with 35 crew members onboard, had been located off the coast of the Duke of York Islands in Papua New Guinea.

"A new expedition to find the submarine commenced last week and the search vessel "Furgo Equator" has now located the submarine in more than 300 metres of water," Senator Payne said.

"The fate of her 35 crew members remained one of the significant mysteries of Australian military history.

"It was the first loss for the RAN and the first Allied submarine loss in World War I; a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies."


Senator Payne added that a small commemorative service had been conducted by those onboard the survey vessel but that the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments would be working together to consider "a lasting commemoration and recognition of the crew of AE1".

She also confirmed that descendants of those lost on the submarine were in the process of being contacted.

Information gathered from the expedition will be held by the Australian National Maritime Museum, who jointly funded the search alongside the Australian government, the Silentworld Foundation and Find AE1 Ltd.