Australia allocates AUD$500,000 to help find Navy’s first submarine HMAS AE1

The Australian government is giving out AUD $500,000 to support an expedition aiming to find HMAS AE1, the first submarine to enter service with the Royal Australian Navy.

Defense minister Marise Payne announced the government would match a private investment which would 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.

AE1 was lost without a trace on September 14, 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.

“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.

The loss of AE1 with her entire complement of three officers and 32 sailors was the RAN’s first major tragedy and it marred an otherwise successful operation to seize the German possession in New Guinea and the South Pacific. It is not known what caused AE1 to disappear without trace and since her loss in 1914 several searches have been conducted to establish her whereabouts.