Deep Light: Illuminating the Wrecks of Sydney and Kormoran


WA Museum Boola Bardip
Perth Cultural Centre



Free entry

This exhibition has now finished. Please visit Exhibitions to see what’s on at the Museum.

The World War Two encounter between HMAS Sydney (II) and the disguised German raider HSK Kormoran off the Western Australian coast stands as Australia’s most tragic naval disaster. 81 men from Kormoran were killed and 318 survived. The lives of all 645 men on Sydney were lost.

For more than 66 years, the location of the two ships remained a mystery. Then, in 2008, the Finding Sydney Foundation and shipwreck expert David Mearns found the wrecks off Shark Bay.

In 2015, the WA Museum and Curtin University, with vital assistance from DOF Subsea, the Commonwealth Government and other supporters, returned to the wreck sites. Using remotely controlled equipment, the team captured stunning underwater images that revealed the fate of the ships on the seabed, over two kilometres beneath the waves. These images revealed a remote world of solemn loss, filled with wondrous creatures and surprising colour.

This poignant exhibition showcases remarkable images and footage captured during the expedition, interviews with the research team, and personal reflections from descendants and family members of Sydney's crew. Experience the moving 3D short film, Fire on the Water, which traces the events of the World War II battle off Shark Bay. The film is presented with the support of the Shire of Shark Bay & Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery & Visitor Centre, where it is on permanent display.


Images courtesy of Curtin University and the Western Australian Museum.
© Western Australian Museum