New book details life and death of liberty ship

Port Lincoln man and former Ceduna local Greg Sleep has published a book on Thevenard's own shipwreck, the Eleni K.

Originally a liberty ship from World War II named the Johns Hopkins, the ship was sold after the war as a general freighter.

"On September 29, 1966 when it was leaving Thevenard loaded with bulk wheat, the ship broke its back just as it left the shipping channel," said Mr Sleep.

"The way it was loaded...caused longitudinal stress in the ship which is why it broke its back."

Mr Sleep's book - 'Eleni K - Loss of a Liberty Ship' - details how grain was salvaged before the ship was moved six miles to a place near Goat Island, as where it had halted was in the entrance to the channel.

"It's one of South Australia's most significant shipwrecks," he said.

"I was a kid in school in Ceduna and I remember the life boats being towed into Ceduna.

"As I got older I was about to scuba dive on the wreck, and I sort of thought all people in Thevenard and Ceduna didn't appreciate they had a major shipwreck on their doorstep."

Mr Sleep said he compiled a lot of interviews about 20 years ago, including with the captain of the ship who had since passed away.

"Once I retired I thought I should finish it," he said.

Mr Sleep picked the project back up about 18 months ago and has the book selling at the Beers Newsagency in Port Lincoln and the Spry's Newsagency in Ceduna.

Mr Sleep compiled photos from the library, state archives and private collections.

His book covers the original American history of the ship, its wartime service, and the fateful day in Thevenard when it broke.

It also details illegal and legal salvaging, and the slow deterioration of the wreck since.

The shipwreck is now completely submerged.