His Majesty's Colonial Schooner Mermaid

180-year-old shipwreck to be protected

By Vincent Morello


A 180-year-old shipwreck found two weeks ago on the Great Barrier Reef has been declared a protected zone by the federal government.

The wreck of His Majesty's Colonial Schooner Mermaid was discovered by underwater archaeologists from the Australian National Maritime Museum on January 2, a day after the search for the wooden-hull vessel began.

It lay hidden off Flora Reef, about 20km from Cairns in far north Queensland.

The ship's crew were unable to free the vessel when it ran aground on June 13, 1829, but escaped in boats and were rescued 11 days later by a passing merchant ship.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett on Thursday declared the wreck's resting place a protected zone under the Historic Shipwrecks Act of 1976.