A beach with WW2 history buried.

A short and easy stroll, Submarine Beach walking track offers a beach viewing platform, swimming, and scenic views.

There's also some interesting history buried somewhere here...

K9 Submarine

The K9 submarine buried on Submarine Beach

(Courtesy of Grey Nomad Awards)

Sure you know about the Japanese attack on Sydney Harbour in WW2, but did you know that another submarine was involved in that episode? And its now buried here at Submarine Beach.

HMAS K9 might have been aptly named, because she turned out to be a dog of a vessel.

Designed with leading-edge technology for the time, K-IX (as she was originally known) was commissioned in 1923 by the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN) to play a critical role in military service for the Netherlands in the Far East.

After the Dutch declared war on Japan for bombing Pearl Harbour, K-IX was told to be ready to flex her muscles. All that happened though was that she coughed and spluttered, limping to the Port of Siam (Thailand) for mechanical repairs. It was while she was there that the Japanese invaded Indonesia and K-IX made a 10-day dash to freedom in Fremantle WA.

The following month, with K-IX in desperate need of some TLC, she was offered to the Royal Australian Navy as a training aid for our Antisubmarine Warfare School. We accepted, renaming her K9.

The sub was then sailed to Sydney's Garden Island for much needed machinery, engine and battery refurbishments. That was where she sat, alongside the requisitioned harbour ferry HMAS Kuttabul, just after midnight on 1 June 1942 when a torpedo intended for the USS Chicago exploded. HMAS Kuttabul capsized and sank, crushing part of K9 was she rolled.

The Dutch decided the repairs were too expensive, and graciously agreed that Australia could continue to use K9 on the understanding that she remained the property of the Dutch Queen.

As the old dog still had fight in her, the Australian Navy worked to get her moving again. By November 1943 she was looking sparkly, but just two months later a battery defect caused a major explosion onboard. Gutted, our Navy let her go.

The Dutch converted K9 to an oil lighter (for transporting fuel from ship to shore) and in early June 1945 towed her out of Sydney Harbour bound for Darwin. Two days later the tow line broke in rough seas and K9 ended up on an isolated beach just south of Seal Rocks.

And the village's most famous landmark, the 1875 Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, could play no part in saving this vessel.

K9 is now buried deep, and only occasionally pushes her snout above the sand in the dunes to remind us of her presence, on the beach in her honour.

What an ignominious end for an old war dog!

At the northern end of Submarine Beach is Yagon Campground, operated by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. It has basic facilities such as a drop toilet and bins.

Yagon campground hero

What did others have to say?

Glenn Humphrey

a year ago

Beautiful beach, worth the effort to get there. Had to drive up a gravel road and then walk about 5 minutes from the campground carpark. Long open beach with a semi protected area near the point. No lifeguards or facilities other than a toilet block at the nearby campground.

tane potts

9 months ago

where is the submarine?