Project Longshot :
– finding the first shot by the allies in the Great War.

 With the centenary of WW1 earlier this year and the centenary of Gallipoli in 2015, this project couldn’t be more timely.

2014 marked the centenary of World War 1 and we are planning a series of missions to find the first Allied shot fired  in the Great War.

The shell, if it is still intact and the experts believe it is, lies inside the opening to Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne.

On August 5th 1914,  Australian forces attempted to stop the German cargo ship, the SS Pfalz, from leaving Melbourne.

War had just been declared in London and all German activity in the Commonwealth was now considered hostile.

Despite numerous warnings to cut her engines, Pfalz Captain Kuhiken ordered full steam ahead and a dangerous game of chicken ensued.

From Fort_Nepean the Australians continued to signal to the Pfalz to stop.

When they received an order to either ‘stop her of sink her’  Australian forces fired the first shot of the Great War across the Pfalz’ bow, missing the ship by metres.

The Pfalz eventually surrendered to Australian forces, who boarded her at 1.00pm.

The German crew was interned in Australia for the duration of the war.

The ship itself was soon refitted as a troop carrier for the war effort and was used in the Gallipoli landings under the name HMT Boorara.

She had a busy time in the Dardanelles, transporting Australian soldiers onto the battle arena, being twice torpedoed, and housing Turkish prisoners of war.

What we are trying to achieve.

There will be on going costs with this project, not only on-water searching, but equipment training, data interpretation, repairs and maintenance etc.

Once we find the shell we will still have several archaeological challenges to overcome, with costs associated.

We are organising a number of fundraising events and have also applied for corporate and public funding.

Short Summary

What We Need & What You Get

Project Longshot will be a difficult mission given the ferocity of the tides in this area and a century of constant dredging, not to mention that locating a six-inch shell in Port Phillip Bay will be a needle-in- a- haystack job.

However, we have sourced specialist sonar equipment; a magnetometer similar to that, that the US Navy is using in Pearl Harbour to locate unexploded ordinance from the Japanese attack in 1942.

This equipment is capable of finding a .22 shell under six feet of sand.

If the shell is there we will find it!

Southern Ocean Exploration, Australia’s most successful shipwreck discovery team, will volunteer all of its resources to find the shell: divers, boats, fuel and insurances – but we need to hire this equipment if we are to have any chance of finding the shell.

Whitewater Documentaries will provide a film crew to document the event, with a view to telling the fascinating story of the Pfalz in a one-hour television documentary.

Once we acquire the magnetometer we can begin our search for the shell.

$15,000 will enable us to hire the magnetometer and begin searching for the shell. However, we actually need $35,000 in total to complete the project and to find the shell in time for the centenary of World War 1.

The additional $20,000 is to acquire ancillary items such as underwater sand vacuums, cameras, cables, laboratory time for data recovery and other items.

If we raise $15,000 through this campaign, we are confident we can raise the rest of the funding through alternative fundraising avenues and perhaps through government sponsorship, but this will obviously prolong the search for and discovery of the shell.


The Impact

This will be a world-breaking story.

To find the first shell fired in the Great War at a time when the world is reflecting on a period that changed humanity forever, would be an enormously important and emotional event. If we don’t find the shell, it will probably be lost forever. It would be a shame to waste this opportunity.

As you can imagine, this is a ‘Long Shot’, but just think how exciting it would be to be apart of rewriting this fascinating chapter in Australian and international history.

Other Ways You Can Help

You can help by donating as much or as little as you can. Please have a look at the perks below.

Nobody has much to spare right now, but please don’t let that discourage you from becoming involved. You can help us by getting the word out, by speaking to people who may be able to help, by promoting the mission on your blog, website or Facebook, or by contacting us with your ideas.

We think it’s important that this is a community effort.

Most of the credit for making this project a reality goes to author Keith Quinton whose recent book, Stop the Pfalz, painstakingly and accurately recreates the Pfalz’ last moments. His information and assistance has helped SOE narrow the search grid to a practical area.

We really appreciate your support.


The Project Longshot Team



  • $10AUD Poster
    For $10, you will receive an attractive Longshot A3 poster, via download, signed by the team.
  • $20AUD Certificate of Appreciation
    For $20 you will receive a personalised Certificate to show our appreciation for your support for the project. Should we be successful, this could be a family treasure that can be passed down from generation to generation. (download only)
  • $25AUD Project Longshot membership
    $25 will get you membership of the Project Longshot team, with early access to all mission developments through regular newsletter updates and photos. This should appeal to anyone who is interested in watching history unfold.
    This perk will also give you access to SOE’s mailing list and shipwreck project updates.
    This membership also includes the A3 poster and an interactive magazine.
  • $50AUD Project Longshot Documentary
    For $50 you will get an electronic version of the Project Longshot one-hour documentary film when it has been completed. (Itunes or Download).
  • $75AUD Credits
    For $75 your name will appear on the documentary film credits roll.
  • $150AUD Access to the team
    $150 will get you personal access to team members via email.
    This would appeal to enthusiasts with a specific interest in the technical aspects of the project.
    This perk is available to people who would like access to the SOE team and their ongoing shipwreck projects
  • $250AUD Invitation to premiere
    You will be invited to attend an exclusive premiere screening of the Project Longshot documentary at a central Melbourne venue.
    The screening will be followed by a question and answer session and light refreshments with the team.
    Numbers are limited
  • $1,500AUD Presentation
    There are few true adventurers left in the world.
    For $1500 the SOE exploration team will give a two-hour inspirational presentation to your organisation, workplace, club, school or institution.
    This perk is available within the Greater Melbourne area. (please contact us if you would like us to travel)
    The team will talk about Project Longshot as well as SOE’s other fascinating shipwreck discoveries.
    SOE’s story shows that all you need to succeed is enthusiasm and resilience.
  • $2,500AUD Day on the boat with the team
    For $2500 you can join the team for a day on the water searching for the shell.
    Alternatively, you could join SOE on one of their shipwreck search projects.You are very welcome to make a donation to :

To make a donation you can either pay into the project dedicated account or you can use Paypal if you would prefer.

Project Longshot account details:
Commonwealth Bank
Account Name: Southern Ocean Exploration Inc.
BSB: 063144
Account Number: 10513417