Williams Landing

The raising of the R.M.S. William was always going to be a tricky business. Altona Bay, the patch of sea in which it sank had a notably rocky and uneven floor and a fairly shallow depth (compared to the rest of Port Phillip Bay). This immediately ruled out several of the more common approaches for raising a ship, which, alas, left the field open for more unlikely methods.

The two front running suggestions were that the ship be either airlifted, by a series of divers attaching cable to the wreck – the other ends of the cables would then be attached to balloons to provide the necessary lift – or that a certain amount of judicious dynamiting take place, in order to make way for one of the more oft-used methods, and hopefully without damaging the sunken vessel more than was already the case.

In the end, due to miscommunications and a fierce rivalry between the two teams, the unfortunate result was that both methods were employed simultaneously. The dynamite, in detonating, ignited the hydrogen of the balloons, leading to an enormous explosion which appeared to have completely obliterated the ship. In fact, it had launched it on a high parabolic course, and two days later, the scorched remains of the ship rained down over part of the area covered by the Royal Australian Air Force base located in Laverton.

When that portion of the base was closed down, that region would be turned into a housing development whose name reflects that most peculiar of events, as would the remaining portion of the base.

Suburbs near Williams Landing: