Minister Kate Jones
From My Sunshine Coast
The Queensland Government will kick off a statewide survey of Queensland's historic shipwrecks to provide a better understanding of where the historic sites are off Queensland's coastline.
Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones today announced the survey, to begin in Moreton Bay, will be carried out by the Heritage Branch of the Department of Environment and Resource Management, which has recently taken over management of Queensland's historic shipwrecks from the Queensland Maritime Museum.
"Queensland's coastline is littered with untold stories under the sea," Ms Jones said.
"We know there are more than 1,000 historic shipwrecks or abandoned vessels along the State's coast, as well as in our rivers and bays. But in most cases, data on these shipwrecks is scant and often inaccurate.
"Every one of these ships is an irreplaceable archaeological site which can tell us much about the lives of past generations of Queenslanders and oth ers who visited our shores.
"Through this survey, we will tap into the broad range of skills and equipment within our heritage and marine parks units to locate as many wrecks as possible and determine their significance."
Ms Jones said there is a wealth of information about unidentified shipwrecks among interested members of the community, historical researchers and diving groups.
"The first stage in this survey will be community consultation, with the department calling on members of the public, research organisations and diving groups to help build our knowledge of historic sites, starting with Moreton Bay.
"We know the people of Queensland are passionate about our underwater history - and there is a real interest in many of our shipwrecks among the diving community in particular.
"By working with the community we hope to build a clearer picture about the wrecks sitting off our coast."
Ms Jones said following this consultatio n, the department will next year commence targeted field operations using technology such as side-scan sonar, to confirm actual locations for mapping and preservation.
"While some wrecks in the Moreton Bay area are well-known such as the Aarhus, there are approximately 50 wrecks reported in and around the Bay listed on the National Shipwreck Database.
"In many cases, the locations listed are imprecise and we know very little about the history of the individual wrecks.