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Campaign to find the First Shot Fired in WW1 starts today

Announcement posted by Whitewater Documentaries 10 Apr 2014

Melbourne, April 10. 2014.


With the centenary of World War One looming, deep sea explorers Southern Ocean Exploration (SOE) is about to begin a series of missions to find the shot that announced the Great War to the world.

Australia's most successful shipwreck discovery team believes that the 40kg steel shell, which Australian forces fired at the escaping German ship Pfalz on the morning WW1 was declared, lies in about 25 metres of water near the South Channel of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne. 

Project Longshot is supported by Heritage Victoria, Parks Victoria, The Department of Veterans Affairs and by the Victorian ANZAC Centenary Committee.

VACC chairman Ted Baillieu said the government was planning an event to commemorate the “first shot”, and finding the shell would be a coup.

“The VACC has already raised for consideration the possible location and recovery effort of that first shell, if intact,” he said. 

“If it was possible, such a find would, of course, be of worldwide significance.”

SOE has been researching and planning the mission since 2013. In order to find the shell, SOE needs to purchase an intricate magnetometer and is instigating a funding campaign. 

The US navy is currently using this equipment to find unexploded ordinance in Pearl Harbour.

“If we get the right equipment we will find the shell if it's there” Southern Ocean Exploration founder Mark Ryan said.

Longshot's crowd funding campaign began at midday today.

$85,000 will enable the team to buy the magnetometer and begin searching for the shell. 

The project will cost $130,000 in total, the team will still need a further $45,000 to acquire ancillary items such as underwater sand vacuums, cameras, cables, laboratory time for data recovery and other items.

Team leader Mark Ryan said,"If we raise $85,000 through this campaign, we are confident we can raise the rest of the funding through alternative fundraising avenues and perhaps a second Indiegogo drive, but this will obviously prolong the search for and discovery of the shell."

"We have opted for a fixed funding model here because if we don't reach our target, it is unlikely that we will be able to find the extra money elsewhere. It's all or nothing, really," Mr Ryan said.

SOE will be searching for the shell throughout 2014 and Whitewater Documentaries will be making a documentary about the capture of the SS Pfalz, its later involvement in the Gallipoli campaign, its sinking in Canada in the 1930s and hopefully the discovery of the shell. 


Project Website


Southern Ocean Exploration


Whitewater Documentaries


Indiegogo campaign



Terry Cantwell 0410 427 990 - 

Mark Ryan (SOE Team Leader) 0419 881 298 

Martin Tozer (SOE Maritime Archaeologist) 0414 977 563