Artists, designers, filmmakers, and writers often imagine what a post-apocalyptic world will look like – and we think this wrecked ship offers a hopeful clue. Originally built in 1911, the SS Ayrfield had many functions before it was decommissioned in the 1970s. It transported supplies to American soldiers stationed in the Pacific during WWII and it was also used to transport coal. Now it sits in Sydney’s Homebush Bay, where it is protected by heritage laws – and a mini mangrove forest has reclaimed the whole thing as its own.
Once a dumping ground for a suite of industrial firms, Homebush Bay used to have dismal levels of DDT, phthalates, and other toxic chemicals swimming in the water. A huge cleanup operation has since improved the situation, though it’s not still perfect, and the surrounding area has become the scene of many recreational activities and waterside residences.
The floating mangrove forest is a key attraction at this site near Olympic Park; it is particularly attractive to local photographers, according to Treehugger, who have photographed the wrecked ship and its green cargo at all times of day – hoping to capture the extraordinary contrast between the rusted old boat and the new development in the background.
It’s amazing the mangroves can flourish in the ship since they have a complicated root system, but they appear to be there for the long haul!