News Home Photo Gallery Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing Cruising Int MarineBusiness-World FishingBoating Magnetic Is RW : Great Barrier Reef continues to reveal its hidden heritage
Great Barrier Reef continues to reveal its hidden heritage

'That wonderful natural wonder of the world known as the Great Barrier Reef.'    John Curnow ©

The Great Barrier Reef is still revealing its hidden heritage with the discovery of three possible historic shipwrecks since April — the most recent in the past month. Heritage experts are conducting investigations to accurately identify the wrecks which are thought to be from the early 1800s.

The latest find was made just north of the Frankland Islands, while the other two shipwrecks are located in the far northern region of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The discovery comes as Bowen, which was home to a Catalina maintenance base during World War II, prepares for a memorial event on August 17 that will mark 70 years since the Catalina A24-24 flying boat crashed off the town’s shores, claiming 14 lives.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s general manager for biodiversity, conservation and sustainable use Bruce Elliot said there was an increased emphasis within the agency on protecting aircraft and shipwreck sites.

'It’s great the wrecks have been discovered and it underlines the potential of finding so much more important maritime cultural heritage in the Marine Park, some of which is still to be fully explored,' he said.

'There have been hundreds of incidents involving planes or vessels that have gone missing. The challenge for the agency is to locate and protect these sites.'

The general vicinity of the Catalina wreckage had been known to fishermen since the 1960s, when trawlers dredged up parts of an aircraft which were unmistakably from a Catalina. In 2011, the wreck was discovered by husband and wife dive crew Brian and Ann Mecklem from Bowen who became the driving force behind the memorial project.

'The most touching and rewarding part of being involved in the project is that when we contacted relatives of the crew lost in the crash, some didn’t even know it had been located,' Mr Mecklem said.

'The daughter of one of the crew who died said her mother had simply received a letter from the King at the time to say her husband was missing. She apparently waited years in hope of his return, so I think it will bring important closure for many of the relatives who will be attending the event.’’

The Catalina A24-A24 of 20 Squadron RAAF took off from Bowen on 17 August 1943 on an air to sea gunnery training exercise flight. On its return, the aircraft was making a run across the wave tops of choppy sea — it is assumed its wing hit the water, causing the aircraft to crash.

The Bowen Catalina memorial event will include a service and the unveiling of a new memorial on the town’s foreshore, as well as a plaque listing the names of casualties.

The event’s ambassador is actor Shane Porteous who lost his father Stanley Porteous in the crash. For more information, visit Bowen Catalina Memorial.

Anyone who discovers a wreck is urged to report it on the Australian Government’s shipwreck database.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website

by GBRMPA Media


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

7:52 PM Sat 17 Aug 2013GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World

'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' by Vincent Bossley by Noonsite Reviewer/Sail-World,

Pam, 90-year-old pearling lugger, to sail again by Sail-World Cruising round-up,

How sailors really do have a voice in the future of our oceans by Sandra Whitehouse, Sailors for the Sea,

Message-in-a-bottle record - 102 years by AFP/Sail-World Cruising,

Canadian solo sailor rescued north of Auckland by Sail-World Cruising round-up,

Ipad and sailing boats in Australia/NZ - What works and what doesn't *Feature by Andrew Keays, Island Cruising Association,

Merchant Shipping Chalks Up Another Rescue - Tanker Saves Yacht Crew
Check this sailing gear more often during the season
Multihull Solutions Whitsunday Rendezvous 2014 – Entries sailing
SOLAS fundraiser to take place at Gosford Sailing Club
Laura Dekker presented OCC's Award of Merit Sat 05 April in Whangarei
Free online fuel spill course - how much do you know?
Smaller but plenty of space: The Nautitech Open 40
Product of the Week: Chafe guards save lines from friction
Government sneaks through the 'Affordable Boat Act'
Japan's Antarctic whaling program harpooned
Yacht of the Week: Kokomo III - and she could be yours
To Sea in a Sailing Ship: the glory days - at CYCA TOMORROW!
Life-shattering event sends 'rookie' couple sailing the world
Mysteries of the seas, happening right now - missing, sunk, foul play
Sail Norway and Russia this summer - your own boat, or charter
Sunshine4kids' 'Fleet of Hope' sets off again
3,200-year-old boat found in Croatian waters
Product of the Week: the LineGrabber
So-called 'Med Mooring' - handy in some anchorages, and here's how
Canadian storm bomb threat - sailors advised: get off the water!
Carbon monoxide poisoning - is it possible on YOUR boat?   
Go crazy about whales in a special family fun day at the museum   
Southport Yacht Club achieves Gold Anchor status   
Sailing family condemmed for taking 3-year-old on circumnavigation   
New contract-free plan for satellite communicator on your smart phone   
Melbourne Boat Show earlier this year - 12 to 16 June   
Southport Yacht Club will host a free 'Discover Sailing Day'   
Farmer sails his super-size pumpkin across lake - a New Zealand first   
Yacht of the Week: The Dashew creation: no sails, but eco-friendly   
No laughing! Sailing mistakes I don't want to make   
Destination: From Moscow Sea to the White Sea   
Land sailors of India on adventure across the Rann   
Future of Auckland's rescue helicopters in doubt   
A Paint App to (almost) replace your marine store assistant   
Amazing Whales – Evolution and survival opens tomorrow   
Maritime Alert - Dangerous conditions forecast for NSW boaters   
Club Marine Pittwater Sail Expo - Sea Guardian on display at RPAYC   
Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi set a new trans-ocean record   
How to anchor and 'never utter a word'   
Non-pyrotechnic flares for my boat - Can I or can't I?   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Our Advertisers are committed to our sport, please support them!
This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia Pty. Ltd and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.

Photographs are copyright by law. If you wish to use or buy a photograph you must contact the photographer directly (there is a hyperlink in most cases to their website, or do a Google search.) with your request.

Please do not contact as we cannot give permission for use of other photographer’s images.

Only if the photographer named on the image is,, or
Contact us .
Ph: +61 2 8006 1873 fax: +61 2 8076 0459 or complete our feedback form    Contact us .
   View our Privacy Policy.    [Go Home]     [  Banner Advertising Specification]    [Bot Archive ]

Customised news feeds -Marine Industry companies, Clubs and Associations have their own customised version of our news feed on their website.