Andrew Powell

Uncovering Queensland’s sunken treasures

From My Sunshine Coast

Queenslanders are encouraged to get involved in National Archaeological Week (20 - 26 May) by providing any information they have about ship wreck sites along the state’s east coast to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the department was looking for any information relating to ship wreck sites, including known dive sites, unusual fishing spots or net ‘hook ups’, photographs, drawings or family records of shipwrecks, to help it piece together a part of Queensland’s history.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) is leading a five-year Queensland Historic Shipwreck Survey which involves carrying out dive inspections on identified wrecks and coordinating remote sensing surveys of targeted areas within Moreton Bay and along Queensland’s east coast,” Mr Powell said.

Estimates by marine archaeologists indicate that, since the 18th century, more than 1400 ships have been wrecked or abandoned along the Queensland coastline, on fringing reefs or inland waters.

While we know the locations of ships that were deliberately scuttled on beaches and foreshores or abandoned up rivers and creeks, others were lost at sea and never seen again and we are keen to find exactly where those wrecks are.

Mr Powell said detailed information collated through this historic survey would be used to update the Australian National Shipwreck Database (ANSD).

Members of the public have a rare opportunity to critique information, conduct research and visit these unique heritage sites,” Mr Powell said.

While ships need to be wrecked for 75 years or more to automatically be declared historic, more recent shipwrecks can be declared historic if, for example, they are associated with important people or events.

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