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Australia announces $439,928 funding for Historic Shipwreck protection

by Australian Goverment Media on 20 Nov 2009
Shipwreck coast of Victoria SW
Federal Heritage Minister Peter Garrett today announced funding of $439,928 for projects that will protect the nation's underwater cultural heritage. A total of 25 projects across Australia will receive funding under the Historic Shipwrecks Program.

'The Historic Shipwrecks Program provides important financial assistance to state and territory agencies who manage, protect and raise awareness of historic shipwrecks on behalf of the Commonwealth,' Mr Garrett said.

'This annual funding helps protect shipwrecks and their relics and promotes activities which encourage people to visit shipwreck sites and gain a better understanding of conservation issues.

'It also promotes better understanding of the stories associated with the wrecks and gives us a fascinating insight into Australia's significant maritime past and the often treacherous journeys undertaken in the past.'

Projects to receive funding include:

* New South Wales — historic shipwreck survey, recording and monitoring of Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks to expand the inventory and knowledge of known sites and newly detected or reported sites. This includes continuing investigations at the M24 Japanese midget submarine site and the convict transport shipwreck site of the Hive (1835) and its associated survivor’s camp near Jervis Bay.

* Victoria — funding will support Heritage Victoria staff to support the National Historic Shipwrecks Research Project which will focus on the preservation and reburial of historic shipwreck artefacts. The Victorian historic shipwreck Clarence (1850) has been selected because of its archaeological potential.

* Tasmania — continuing a significant project that commenced in 2007, this project will re-visit 80 known sites and record others not yet formally visited in Tasmanian waters.

* South Australia — funding for Stage 2 of locating and protecting three whaling shipwrecks. The Australian-built Elizabeth Rebecca (1828-1845), the Canadian brigantine Camilla (1827-1844) and the former British Navy barque Arachne (1809-1848). This project is a critical component to developing a state-wide whaling heritage interpretive trail.

* Western Australia — the Western Australian Museum will undertake an oral history project to collect information on 237 historic shipwrecks, of which only 15 are currently located, as well as other maritime sites located in the Kimberley region.

* Northern Territory — this project deals with the site inspection of six shipwrecks being considered for protection under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976. The six wrecks, all in Darwin Harbour, are the Meigs, Mauna Loa, Neptuna, Peary, Zealandia and Kelat which were associated with the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942.

* Norfolk Island — This project will allow the Norfolk Island Museum to engage expert conservators to protect 188 artefacts belonging to HMS Sirius (1790) — the flagship for the First Fleet which arrived in Sydney, on 26 January 1788.

* Queensland — this project is part of a long term strategy to encourage appropriate community engagement with shipwrecks in the far north section of the Great Barrier Reef. This will involve working with tourism operators to develop and manage historic shipwreck trails.

For more information on Australia's shipwreck heritage, visit

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