Coffs Harbour

Historic wreck found at Gallipoli

Hospital barge - Mark Spenser


By Matt Deans - The Advocate


A Coffs Harbour photographer has spearheaded an incredible discovery at Anzac Cove.

Mark Spencer’s work with Australia’s leading maritime archaeology team has uncovered a number of new shipwrecks – and one that is very close to home.

Dr Spencer’s great uncle may have carried wounded to a hospital ship that the team uncovered during the first scientific ocean survey of the seabed in Anzac Cove.

“My great uncle on my mother’s side, Hector Markey, was a stretcher bearer in the second half of that Gallipoli campaign,” said Dr Spencer.

“It was an amazing feeling to stand exactly where he stood on the shoreline 95 years ago and view the landscape in such a different context.

“Then, when diving off Anzac Cove, we found the deep water barge. It’s very possible my great uncle carried wounded soldiers to this very barge.

“Only then I realised how these relics have the ability to transport one back in time.”

The hospital vessel was one of a number of historic shipwrecks, the expedition “Project Beneath Gallipoli” located from the eight-month World War I battle.

“That one wreck in particular really brought home the agony of the conflict,” NSW Government Maritime Archaeologist Tim Smith said.

“Detected 1.3 nautical miles off Anzac Cove in 55 metres of water, the wreck had only been known as an obstacle to local Turkish fishermen.


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