Divers engaged on the breakwater extension at Burnie (1914)
On 24 July 1926, deep sea diver, Joe Hodgson, was making minor repairs to the Burnie breakwater when an octopus entangled its feelers around his leg. It was the second time in as many weeks that he was attacked by an octopus. Possessing a large knife, Hodgson stabbed the fish between the eyes, and it made off taking the knife with it. On the first occasion the octopus was found measuring more than 2.5 metres across. On this occasion, the octopus was even larger.
The relentless struggle left Hodgson completely exhausted. It was some time before he could regain his feet and then realising that he had no means of protection against a further attack, he came to the surface. His companion later informed him that he had been almost jerked into the sea, so strong and sudden had been the jerk on the lines.
This incident would be enough to make anyone wonder what lurks beneath the sea beyond the Burnie breakwaters.
Pictured above are deep sea divers who took part during the construction of the Burnie breakwater, which began 1913 and completed in 1918.
The first breakwater at the port, extending some 172 metres into Emu Bay, was completed in 1890. The second completed in 1918 was a concrete block breakwater, extending 381 metres into the Bay. A separate island breakwater was added in the mid 1960s.
See gallery below for more photos on the Burnie breakwater extension project.
Sending a wireless to a diver from the end of the breakwater
Aerial view of wharves and breakwater jetty at Burnie circa 1921 (published in The Advocate Multimedia 25 June 2013: image courtesy of the Pictorial History of Burnie Facebook page)