The wartime loss of Australia’s pride, HMAS Sydney, with all hands on board, remains among the great riddles of modern maritime history - one that has teased authorities, naval experts and researchers for more than six decades.
Ablaze, crippled and doomed, the cruiser vanished off the West Australian coat in November 1941, leaving not just profound unanswered questions, but grieving families and a nation mourning such wholesale loss of life.
For author Glenys McDonald, 'Sydney's' final voyage - and its ill-fated clash with the German raider 'Kormoran' - heralded a personal quest that will take many unexpected turns. In mid-life, starting a new life and a new career in a remote coastal town, she found herself inextricably caught in in 'Sydney's puzzling story.
The authors struggle to piece together a labyrinth of facts, theories and, in many cases, elusive false trails makes for compelling reading in this densely woven account. Strange cryptograms, hearsay and new evidence from German survivors of the catastrophe add momentum to a tale of hope, disappointment and contradiction.
Her break with conventional methodology, by using oral history and the power of memory as a research tool, breathes fresh life into this long unsolved maritime mystery, in a bid to help families of the 645 lost sailors win closure.
1. Exploring the Myths
2. HMAS 'Sydney' and HSK 'Kormoran' - an Overview
3. What the Locals Saw
4. First Contact with the 'Wierd Mob'
5. Searching for Proof of the Time Frame
6. The Mysterious Lifeboat
7. Pressure for a In-Water Search
8. Children of the 'Centaur'
9. Becoming an 'Authority'
10. HMAS 'Sydney' Forums and Other Leads
11. The Christmas Island Body
12. My Really Confusing Period
13. The 'Koolinda' and Bill Elmecker
14. The Drift Card Analysis
15. The Federal Parliamentary Inquiry
17. The Shipwreck Detectives
18. The Wreck Location Seminar
19. Fact or Fiction?
20. The Aftermath
Epilogue: The Geraldton Memorial
Appendix: List of 'Sydney' Crew Members