But although the vessel was wrecked and decommissioned in the early 1970s, left to rust in Sydney's Homebush Bay, it has since been slowly commandeered by a new type of crew: a floating forest of lush mangroves.
As imposing as it must have seemed when rolling off the shipyard line in 1911, a steel-hulled testament to human ingenuity, after decades of service the SS Ayrfield, like many of our formerly-prized possessions, became mired in obsolescence. Though in the years that followed, that wrecked old coal ship has come to represent something else entirely -- the ease with which nature can reclaim even the stateliest symbols of our civilization.
Nowadays, what was once an eyesore has become a favorite spot among photographers, its contrast of the shipwreck's rust and lush vegetation against the city skyline acting as an easy allegory for degradation and renewal.
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