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It was 13th time lucky for World War I submarine found after 100-year search

Related Story: One man's mission to find Australia's first submarine

The first Allied and Royal Australian Navy submarine lost in World War I has finally been found after a 103-year search off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

"Australia's oldest naval mystery has been solved," Defence Minister Marise Payne said.

"It was … a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies,"

HMAS AE1 was holding 35 crew members when it went missing off the coast of the Duke of York Islands on September 1914.

A hunk of metal underwater

Twelve previous private and government-funded expeditions over the years failed to find the vessel, which was a grave to so many.

The latest, 13th and final search began on board the vessel Furgro Equato last week.

A room of men.

(Supplied: Department of Defence)

The missing sub was found yesterday 300 metres under water near the Duke of York Islands.

After the discovery,the crew on board the Furgro Equato took part in a commemorative service to remember the officers and sailors who lost their lives.

A submarine on the ocean floor.

"The boat and her crew, who've been on eternal patrol since 1914 … have now been found," Ms Payne said.

"I truly trust that this discovery will bring peace of mind to the descendants of the families of the crew who lost their lives on board and perhaps in time it may also enable us to discover what caused the submarine to sink."

The submarine was the first of its kind for the Australian fleet and was 55 metres long.

Jeremy Fernandez explains the significance of AE1, Australia's first submarine

The exact location of the wreck will be kept under wraps for now, with the Australian Government working with the Papua New Guinea Government to preserve the underwater site and to form a plan for a lasting commemoration.

The search party was jointly funded by the Australian Government, the Silentworld Foundation, The Australian National Maritime Museum and Find AE1 Ltd.

Photo of a submarine and two warshipsA maritime chart showing Rabaul harbour and the surrounding area, including the Duke of York group of islands.

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