THE WRECK of SS Nemesis has been discovered in waters off Port Kembla 120 years after it sank.

And now the NSW government wants to connect with relatives of the 32 crew members lost at sea, including three men buried in an unmarked grave in Woronora Memorial Park at Sutherland. 

Heritage NSW says members of the crew came from Australia, the UK and one was from Canada. 

The SS Nemesis left Newcastle on 9 July 1904, loaded with coal, and headed to Melbourne.  

It was last sighted in distress in rough seas off Wollongong by another ship which was also caught a storm. 

Over several weeks, bodies of crew members washed ashore at Cronulla Beach, as well as fragments of the ship’s steering wheel, doors and other floating wreckage. 

And the location of the 73-metre vessel remained unknown. 

But remote sensing company Subsea Professional Marine Services found the wreck while trying to locate cargo containers lost off the coast of Sydney. 

The ship was found 26 kilometres offshore, in approximately 160 metres of water. 

Identifying it was a challenge as it was so far offshore and in deep, high current water. 

Additional underwater imagery captured by CSIRO provided the evidence needed to confirm the ship’s distinctive features aligned with historical photographs and drawings of SS Nemesis.  

Images show the iron wreck resting upright on a broad sand plain, with severe damage to its bow and stern. 

It also revealed a series of clues as to why the ship sank that night.  

It’s thought the engine became overwhelmed in the storm, and when SS Nemesis was hit by a large wave it sank too quickly for lifeboats to be deployed. 

NSW minister for environment and heritage Penny Sharpe said the loss of the Nemesis was one of Sydney’s most enduring maritime mysteries. 

“Thanks to collaborative work with CSIRO and Subsea, using modern technology and historical records, Heritage NSW has been able to write the final chapter of SS Nemesis’ story,” minister Sharpe said.  

“Around 40 children lost their parents in this wreck, and I hope this discovery brings closure to families and friends connected to the ship who have never known its fate.” 

CSIRO voyage manager Jason Fazey said the team did a fantastic job in mapping the site and capturing vision of the wreck.  

“Using RV Investigator’s advanced multibeam echosounders, we were able to create a high-resolution map of the entire wreck and measure key dimensions to aid in its identification,” Mr Fazey said.  

Those with a connection to SS Nemesis are asked to contact Heritage NSW at