Minister for Defence Marise Payne today announced the government would match private investment to fund an expedition to search for the First World War submarine HMAS AE1.
CAPTION: Last known image of AE1, 9 September 1914 – five days before she was lost – with HMAS Ships Australia and Yarra in the background.
Minister Payne said the government would provide $500,000 to allow Find AE1 Limited to proceed in its attempt to find the submarine and its crew.
“HMAS AE1 is one of the world’s great maritime mysteries and this expedition will be one of the most comprehensive searches for the submarine,” Minister Payne said.
The submarine was lost without trace on 14 September 1914 while patrolling waters off then German New Guinea. The cause of the disappearance is not known.
“We owe it to the men of AE1, their descendants and the entire navy community to continue to look for those who are forever on patrol,” she said.
“It is a story that captivates the maritime community, and the government is proud to join The Silentworld Foundation, Australian National Maritime Museum and Fugro Survey in supporting Find AE1.
“We are also grateful for the cooperation of the Papua New Guinean government for allowing the expedition in their waters.
“Retired Rear Admiral Peter Briggs and the Find AE1 team have been working tirelessly to unravel the events and to narrow search areas so that we might learn what happened to the brave men who gave everything to protect our country.
“We are hopeful this expedition will find the vessel so we can properly commemorate her loss and preserve what remains.”
A history of HMAS AE1 can be found here.
Related story: Art installation to commemorate submarine AE1