Dive into virtual reality of shipwrecked Japanese submarine

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One of the most highly significant sites of shared Japanese-Australian heritage off the Northern Territory coast can now be explored using a virtual reality online dive experience.

The experience of a Japanese submarine wreck dating back to the Second World War has been launched to mark the 80th anniversary of its sinking. The I-124 submarine sunk during a dramatic battle with the Royal Australian Navy corvette, HMAS Deloraine, on 20 January 1942, just one month before the Japanese bombing of Darwin.

All 80 crew members of the I-124 died aboard the submarine, which now lies in about 50 metres of water between Darwin and Bathurst Island. This important part of our history shows never before seen imagery, paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the second World War and providing closure to the families of those who lost their lives.

Territory Families, Housing and Communities’ Heritage Branch undertook a joint project with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and internationally recognised leader in digital underwater archaeology, Dr John McCarthy, to obtain and interpret new imagery of the wreck, used in the virtual reality.

The I-124 was part of an Imperial Japanese Navy squadron that had been waging covert operations against Australia’s north, laying mines in waters near Darwin in a bid to intercept Allied vessels and close down the port.

The reality experience is available in both English and Japanese and can be accessed on Youtube.

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