AE1 was the Australia’s first submarine.

The loss of AE1 and the loss of the entire compliment of 35 officers and crew in the first months of World War One was the Royal Australian Navy’s first major tragedy.

On 14 September 1914, AE1 disappeared without trace off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Despite numerous searches over many years, its location remained unknown.

On 21 December 2017 the Australian Government announced that Australia’s longest-running naval mystery had been solved after 103 years, with the assistance of donors to the Australian National Maritime Foundation.

After thirteen previous search missions over many years, a search using the vessel Fugro Equator located the wreck of AE1 in 300 metres of water off Duke of York Island in Papua New Guinea.

Defence minister Marise Payne stated that “this is one of the most significant discoveries in Australia’s naval maritime history.”

AE1 was found through the combined efforts of the Foundation, the Silentworld Foundation, Find AE1 Ltd (an organisation comprised of the team that preserved AE2), the Royal Australian Navy, the Submarine Institute of Australia and Fugro.

Now that the vessel’s location is known, the museum’s focus will shift to preservation of the wreck, and understanding what happened to the AE1, and why.


Read the full story of the AE1 Read the Petrel Survey on AE1


Supported by

The successful search for HMAS AE1 was made possible through the support of the Department of Defence and generous donations made from the following individuals and corporations:

  • News Corp
  • John and Jacqui Mullen
  • The Commonwealth Bank
  • Fugro
  • The Goodman Group
  • The Tzaneros Family
  • The Macquarie Group and Directors
  • The Macquarie Group Foundation
  • Goldman Sachs Gives on behalf of Christian Johnston
  • Australian Capital Equity
  • Navantia Australia
  • Qantas Airways Limited
  • Malcolm Broomhead
  • Peter Dexter
  • The Janes Family
  • Guy and Debbie Templeton
  • Rob Sindel