The affluent suburb of Homebush Bay on the south bank of the Parramatta River, in the inner west of Sydney, was once the dumping ground for a large range of industrial wastes including a few decommissioned ships. Private companies would pay a monthly fee to the Maritime Services Board, and tow in vessels that had outlived their useful lives in order to break them up to salvage steel and parts that could be reused. Ship-breaking operations began in 1966, but ended prematurely before all the ships moored in the bay could be broken down. At least four ships’ hull and the remains of several barges and smaller vessels are still visible in Homebush Bay. These are protected under the historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976 which applies to all shipwrecks over seventy five years old. One of the most photogenic shipwreck in Homebush Bay is that of SS Ayrfield.
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