Iron Crown was found with the use of multibeam sonar equipment and a special drop camera on research vessel Investigator, which then returned to its home port of Hobart.
Voyage Chief Scientist, Emily Jateff from the Australian National Maritime Museum, led the search and said the wreck was located about 100km off the Victorian coastline south of the border with New South Wales. The wreck is relatively intact and the ship is sitting upright on the seafloor in about 700m of water.
According to Peter Harvey, a maritime archaeologist with Heritage Victoria, there were 43 crew from the Australian Merchant Navy on board the ship and 38 lost their lives in the attack.
The team has now mapped the site and surrounding seafloor using sonar but has also taken a lot of close up vision of the ship structure using a drop camera. This will enable them to create a composite image of the whole site to help in follow up surveys for its conservation and management.
Identifying the location of the wreck has also involved many hours of survey work from volunteers of the Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria.
The discovery of Iron Crown is an event of national significance and has been reported to the Victorian and Australian Governments. A memorial service will also be planned for the site.
Except for the 'SS Iron Crown', CSIRO research vessel Investigator has discovered numerous historic shipwrecks in recent years, including solving a 74-year mystery in 2017 when it found the wreck of SS Macumba, an Australian merchant ship sunk in World War II during a Japanese air attack in Northern Territory waters.
The latest discovery is part of a government approach to seafloor mapping and surveying involving various national and state maritime agencies, as well as the Australian Hydrographic Office. This program aspires to improve maritime charts for safe navigation in Australia and enhance knowledge of Australia's maritime history.