The Kyarra was built in 1903 and was twin screw, 4 boiler ocean liner. The two triple expansion engines produced 375 hp each and allowed her to cruise at just over 15 knots.
Initially, she ploughed the England to Australia run on behalf of the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company. In World War I she was used as a troop transporter to bring troop in the Dardanelles. In 1917, with the ever increasing casualty numbers on the World War I killing fields, she became a casualty clearing ship and had a 4.7in quick firing gun fitted to her stern to defend her against U-Boat attacks.
She left Tilbury on 24th
May 1918, heavily laden with mixed cargo. A day later, on 25th
May 1918, as she crossed Anvil Point, hiding in the water was Oberleutnant Johannes Lohs, who had been commandeering for only three months and had already 22 confirmed sinking and 5 damages. A single torpedo from the UB 57 hit the Kyarra amidships, killing 6 crew members. She was sinking fast and the captain William Smith ordered her to be abandoned. The remaining crew took to the lifeboats and seven minutes later she nose dived to her grave.
In 1966, the Kingston BSAC club bought the wreck (but not the mixed cargo). Since then, hundreds of divers have discovered what her mixed cargo was – bottles of champagne, beer, red wine, vinegar, French perfume, medical supplier, silver purses, pocket watches, gold wrist-watches.