Visiting the Heritage Victoria Conservation and Research Centre where shipwreck relics are restored and catalogued, Mr Madden said the new online catalogue was a never-before-seen glimpse at some of Victoria’s most famous and protected shipwrecks.
“Many shipwrecks are no-go zones due to their location, public safety and heritage preservation but this catalogue lets people take a virtual tour of this hidden, underwater world,” Mr Madden said.
“Victoria has an incredibly rich store of underwater heritage from the early days of exploration and settlement.
“More than 600 ships are known to have foundered in Victorian waters since 1835 but only 239 wrecks have actually been found and surveyed.
“Eight highly significant wrecks such as the City of Launceston have been given protected zone status which means they are off-limits to diving, fishing and boating without a permit.
“The photographs available from today are a wonderful door to our past and this is the first time anyone other than a select few can see this unique part of Victorian history.”
Mr Madden said Heritage Victoria’s maritime archaeologists had been working to catalogue and protect these sites including the City of Launceston, which sank in 1865 and was found in 1980.
“These images document more than 30 years work by maritime archaeologists and volunteers and provide a fascinating insight into these wrecks and their historic contents,” Mr Madden said.
Mr Madden said the photos include pictures of Victoria’s most significant shipwrecks including the Clonmell, City of Launceston and the Clarence.
“These photographs from historic shipwrecks provide an important record of the state’s underwater heritage,” he said.