MMHN Update March 2021

 

MMHN Update March 2021

Greetings

There is a clear sense of the ‘new normal’ opening up as we ‘slowly sail’ our way out of COVID. A timely quote about the benefits of ‘slow sailing’: The brutal crisis of the coronavirus is precipitating us into a paradoxical time; urgent need to stop the virus on the one hand, suspension of social time on the other. The urgency forces us to slow down. But isn’t slowness precisely what many of us are looking for ….
https://www.boatsnews.com/story/33376/5-good-reasons-to-sail-slowlyEngagement with MMHN
For those who may lack expertise in nautical signaling, there is a nautical flag to the Kilo flag – Navy & International meaning: We wish to communicate with you!

With increasing regularity, maritime enthusiasts and stakeholder groups are contacting MMHN, inviting us to meet, present, facilitate contact with others which, most importantly, gives us the opportunity to listen.

In focusing attention on maritime matters, that which is NOT happening is just as important as noting what IS happening! Issues such as what requires advocacy, vigilance on maritime heritage infrastructure in jeopardy or vulnerable, what connections we can help facilitate and what maritime events need publicity. The ‘bottom line’ is that MMHN is a NETWORK. Feel free to contact MMHN should you like to raise an issue or contribute to the MMHN Update. MMHN is most grateful for ANY material sent to us on ANY maritime topic. If you would like an MMHN Board member to attend one of your meetings, do let us know.  For example, we are looking forward in the near future to meeting stakeholders at the Company of Master Mariners, the Port Melbourne Historical Society, The Peninsula Ship Society and Hawthorn U3A. Simply email info@mmhn.org.au

Re-cap and expansion on the recent MMHN Seminar:
Port Phillip: Looking out, looking in: Aboriginal and colonial perspectives

The MMHN Board is delighted to report that the inaugural event was a resounding success. The demand exceeded the capacity of the venue. There is clearly significant interest in this aspect of our shared maritime heritage. Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of Aboriginal Melbourne, City of Melbourne, the event was captured on video so everyone can now view the event.
See https://www.dropbox.com/s/92zri1wa4a4wti5/MaritimeFirst%20Contact%20v1.mov?dl=0

Since the Seminar additional ‘First Contact’ information has come to our attention, broadening our understanding of this critical point in our history. MMHM member Dr Lesley Walker, who attended the seminar, subsequently contacted MMHN to recommend that those keen to know more on this topic see the following:

The Message: The Story from the Shore An award-winning film by Alison Page, made in collaboration with Indigenous communities along Australia’s east coast, commissioned by the National Museum of Australia. It reimagines the message of the arrival of Endeavour arrival being passed from place to place along the coast. See  https://youtu.be/hoU65yHWikA

Also recommended:
Mark McKenna, From the Edge – Australia’s Lost Histories. Lesley writes while there is no specific chapter on the place that became Melbourne, the first of 4 chapters Walking the Edge: South-East Australia, 1797 covers a journey from a Bass Strait island to Ninety Mile Beach & then on foot along the coast upwards to Port Jackson. The introduction ’Eyeing the Country’ is worth reading. The idea of looking across the beach or shore from both sides (traditionally our history has been written from the outside – the ship, UK, the landing, the settlers, looking one way. (Published by Miegunyah Press, 2016)

Greg Dening, Beach Crossings. Lesley writes the work focuses on the Pacific suggesting that it is the places ‘in between’ the shore & the ship – symbolised by the beach or shore that are so important in any maritime-focused project in bringing the voices of the watchers on the shore into the story. (Out of print)

Clare Watson, Stepping Off Shore and into Sea Country. Clare writes Along the Australian coast, tens of thousands of years’ worth of Indigenous history lies a short dive below the sea’s surface. The hard part is finding it. When 1/3 of Australia’s continent was submerged, ancestors of the world’s oldest living culture were there to see it. Lands that were wide open to exploration, and home to so many people, flooded as the ocean crept inland following the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Traces of human habitation vanished underwater.
See: https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/stepping-off-the-shore-and-into-sea-country/

A first!  An MMHN collaboration with the RAN.
Please note in your diaries. The next MMHN event will held in collaboration with the RAN on the Stage at Federation Square on SUNDAY, 18 APRIL between 12pm-3pm. There will be a performance by the NAVY BAND and a brief presentation. We hope to see you there!
Perhaps consider catching the tram along Flinders St to the Mission to Seafarers afterwards. See the Mission to Seafarers’ website for their opening hours. http://www.missiontoseafarers.com.au

 

Naval Historical Society of Australia
Noted in the NHSA curiously entitled newsletter Three Headed Dog, NHSA President Rex Williams is retiring after an impressive 18 years in the role. In his President’s Remarks, Rex made pleasing reference to the “apparently growing level of interest in Maritime History on Melbourne reflected through the creation of the Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network – acknowledging that Melbourne Australia’s largest Port should ideally have its own Maritime Museum with appropriate representation as do other capital cities in Australia and elsewhere”.

It comes as no surprise that the vision of the MMHN closely aligns with Mission of the NHSA: To promote and uphold the history, prestige and traditions of Naval service and to preserve Australia’s history.

For those less well versed in mythology: The naval connection to the ‘Three headed dog’ lies in Greek mythology: The threeheaded dogCerberus, stands guard at the entrance to the underworld. … One head of the dog represents the past, one the present, and the third is the future. The symbolism of this resonates, of course, with MNHN advocacy in relation to maritime heritage – past, present and into the future.

Commemorating the vessel Cerberus
To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the HMVS Cerberus in Victoria, Australia Post commissioned a postage stamp depicting the vessel as she would have appeared in the 1880s. The image featured is a painting by Ian Hansen, formerly RAN. The ‘ironclad’ Cerberus left the UK on 29 October 1870 and after a grueling five months and nine days, arrived. The stamp will be released this month on 22 March.

While on one level MMHN is pleased at such formal recognition of the significance of Cerberus, we remain dismayed at the ultimate neglect of this fine example of Australian maritime heritage.

In stark contrast to the Cerberus, superb preservation work is underway at Mystic Seaport, USA, where a comparable ‘ironclad vessel’, the USS Monitor, is being expertly (and expensively) preserved. Highly recommended viewing:
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcB0hhRLOVw


This is an image of first engagement between two ‘ironclads’ during the American Civil War – the Monitor and the Merrimack, March 1862, https://www.ducksters.com/history/civil_war/battle_of_ironclads.php

 

Geelong Maritime Museum update
Maritime heritage enthusiasts throughout the State are concerned about the future of Geelong Maritime Museum (GMM). However, soon there will be an opportunity to have a say about its future through an EOI process about to be initiated by the City of Greater Geelong, which has responsibility for Osborne House and its Stable which once housed the GMM. Cheryl A. Scott, President Osborne Park Association Inc., reports that this will enable interested parties to get together and prepare a proposal for creating/retaining a Naval & Maritime Museum at the birth place of the RANC and first Australian submarine base if they so desire. They will have to be explicit about how it will be operated and funded and will be required to follow the CMP and the established EOI Principles. A tender process will then be undertaken to determine the voracity of any proposal. Council recognises the significant history and heritage value of the property and is aware that any future development requires full adherence to the Lovell Chen Conservation Management Plan 2009 – updated 2018 and again 2020.MMHN is pleased to report that Osborne House has its own Council portfolio status and Council has allocated $10m over four years to the Osborne House Site Project. $2 million restoration works are already underway.  See
https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/news/item/8d8d973904d0c3c.aspx

Yarra Riverkeepers
MMHN is thrilled to note that the popular ABC program Gardening Australia recently featured the Yarra River. (Broadcast Friday 12 March 2021, 7:30pm). Splendid images of the city’s maritime heritage: wharves, bridges, goods sheds etc. A small 3.2 hectare artificial island, 3km upstream from the CBD near South Yarra was formed in 1928 by cutting a channel of the river through an old basalt quarry (Wikipedia). As we know, the course of the Birrarung/Yarra has changed many, many times – naturally on its way to the Bay and it has also been altered to suit the ‘needs’ of the day. Significant, perhaps, is that among the plants which do well upriver is the Seaberry Saltbush, which can cope with the salt in the silt. A free public Punt service to Herring Island will operate until Easter Monday, 5 April 2021. See: https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/
https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/my-garden-path—andrew-kelly/13243134

Museum of the Month
This month, MMHN notes with mix of envy and exasperation, news of two new maritime museums underway elsewhere. The International Congress of Maritime Museums reports new museums in the pipeline in Europe – Rotterdam, Holland and Derry, Ireland. MMHN finds this news inspirational. Such examples serve to strengthen our resolve to establish a strong Maritime Museum ‘presence’ in Melbourne and we intend to pursue this with vigor. Moving on with optimism – an update on MMHN’s museum objectives follows:

  • Maritime Museum in Docklands

You will be aware that when MMHN was established, one of the five stated objectives was construction of an iconic maritime museum situated in Docklands. Several suitable sites were identified – the front-runners being Central Pier or Collins (North) Wharf. Both site options remain ‘live’ – as does MMHN’s resolve to achieve this objective in due course.

However, over the intervening years, the MMHN vision has changed somewhat and MMHN thinking around the proposed maritime museum has evolved. Progress in creative technologies has rendered conventional, static exhibit style ‘museums’ obsolete. MMHN now envisages an iconic Maritime Centre, focused on experiential use and creative technologies to inform and engage, showcasing collections in new ways – and above all, capturing the depth and richness of our diverse and dispersed maritime heritage. A reminder that in the MMHN Research Report 2017, reference was made to the 19th century concept of instructive amusement – a valuable and relevant concept which will be made manifest in the proposed Maritime Centre in Docklands. You may be interested in a video of a futuristic onstruction on Central Pier. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUJjconArtc&t=7s This imagery is inspirational but not to be considered as any form of endorsement by MMHN,

  •  Mission to Seafarers Project

MMHN and the wider community was invited by the City of Melbourne to consider future use of the heritage-listed iconic Mission to Seafarers premises, adjacent to Seafarers Rest Park on North Wharf. Factoring in the constraints on the premises (continued provision of seafarers’ services and functioning Chapel) MMHN proposed that it become the ’Hub’ or focal point of a Melbourne’s Maritime Precinct – the Mission to Seafarers Centre. The State Government is responsible for the premises and fully accepts its obligation to ensure that the premises are conserved and made compliant. The City of Melbourne feasibility study investigating future use and economic viability of the premises is nearing completion. MMHN made a detailed submission and we await the outcome with keen interest.

Heritage Steam Tug News

  • QMM Steam Tug Forceful

Sobering news from Brisbane of the historic Steam Tug ForcefulThe pride exhibit of the Queensland Maritime Museum (QVM), the venerable 95-year-old Steam Tug Forceful is facing the harsh economic reality confronting most maritime conservation projects – particularly maritime floating projects, i.e. heritage vessels. Currently the hull is being assessed and if found to be in jeopardy, QVM may be forced to move the vessel elsewhere in order to save an estimated $1 million per year and $300,000 insurance and cathodic protection (*). Options are currently being considered. Heritage vessels in the water are notoriously expensive – not only for maintenance, but on-shore and berthing costs. Stay tuned – and cross fingers.

For the less technical among us – Cathodic Protection is a technique used to control the corrosion of a metal surface by making it the cathode of an electrochemical cell. A simple method of protection connects the metal to be protected to a more easily corroded ‘sacrificial metal’ to act as the anode. Clear?


The Steam Tug Forceful in the Brisbane River.

 

  • Cheerful news – Steam Tug Wattle

Melbourne’s very own and equally venerable Steam Tug

Thanks to the diligent, persistent and enthusiastic work by the Bay Steamers Association we can report that the Steam Tug Wattle will soon be steaming again on Port Phillip waters. Many Victorians will remember the steam tug Wattle from the mid 1980s to 2003 when it carried thousands of passengers around Port Philip on various cruises to Portarlington, Williamstown and Rye or on birthdays and anniversary charters. A reminder that this is a significant vessel having a citation from National Trust of Victoria (1993) and the Historic Register of Australian Vessels. There are fewer than 20 such oil-fired compound steam engine harbor Tugs left in the world. In January 1932, as part of an incentive scheme to render the Cockatoo Island ship construction and maintenance facility attractive to potential private leaseholders, the Federal Government decided to build a small tug. This proposed tug project meant that a nucleus of skilled staff and apprentices would remain employed, again attractive to potential lessees. The Wattle became the last ship built at Cockatoo Island for the Commonwealth Shipping Board. Having lost a small tug due to collision, the RAN expressed interest in the tug and at no cost it was transferred to the RAN. On 15 February 1934 it became the Wattle, a non-commissioned vessel of the RAN operating with a civilian crew around Sydney. Up to 1969 Wattle duties included maneuvering smaller warships, towing targets & barges, rescue work and transporting goods and personnel between ships and shore. During World War II Wattle was engaged in degaussing experiments. In 1969 Wattle was retired to await wrecking at Athol Bay. Fortunately, in 1971 control of the vessel moved from the RAN to the Department of Supply for disposal, a group five marine steam enthusiasts formed a syndicate and submitted a successful tender of $1,500 – based on the estimated scrap value!

Note: The story of the Wattle will be continued next MMHN Update.In the meantime, for more urgent information on the Wattle or interest in becoming a volunteer, email wattle1933@gmail.com or see website www.tugwattle.org.au


Thanks to MMHN Board member Jeff Malley for this image of the Wattle

More on Modern Tugs – Essential Specialist Ships – then and now
Many in the MMHN were delighted to note an excellent piece by journalist Tony Wright in The Age on 27 February 2021, p.33. The article accurately described the drama which unfolded in Portland Harbour when two valiant tugs, the Cape Grant and the Cape Nelson, skillfully maneuvered the large bulk carrier Medi Portland, 200 metres long and 32 metres wide, carrying 45,000 tonnes of wheat, which had run aground at the entrance of the Port. Dwarfed by the carrier, the tugs, 29 metres long and 10 metres wide but each with 12-cylinder diesel motors producing 1400 horsepower, first affixed to the stern of the carrier, the tugs bellowed in reverse: screws boiling to no avail. One tug ended up pivoting on its nose. Strategies changed, ropes came and went, tugs direct butting. After two hours the carrier was wrenched clear of the sandbank. Of equal importance is that the journalist described the tenacity and skill of the local seafarers, allowing us to reflect on the vulnerability that our nation faces should these outstanding seafaring skills not be passed on to the next generation of seafarers. MMHN and OSSA have long been seriously concerned about deficit around maritime training. We are advocating to government both State and Federal as Australia as an island nation needs to focus NOW on developing the next generation of seafarers. As was so graphically demonstrated in the Portland episode, we are reliant upon local on maritime expertise to sustain critical maritime trade, our economic and national security. See: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/modest-men-of-the-sea-offer-a-lesson-in-nobility-20210225-p575so.html

 


Portland Harbour
Port of Portland is Victoria’s only naturally deep-water port
Proposal for a New Sydney Harbour Museum for North Sydney
North Sydney Council voted this month to lobby the NSW State Govt. to hand over harbourside land when the Western Harbour Tunnel is completed.  Andrew Taylor (The Age March 7 2021) describes this as “win for the heritage fleet’.  A new concept plan is being developed for Berry’s Bay with a  museum, berths for historic vessels, restoration of Woodley Shed for use as a workshop and boatshed, as well as a launch area for canoes, kayaks and small vessels and a ferry wharf. Quoting the Sydney Heritage Fleet spokesman Alan Edenborough “The Fleet had been searching for a permanent home on Sydney Harbour, with its lease of premises at Rozelle Bay due to expire in less than 10 years” The plan to there-locate the SHF to near the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour has been cancelled. See https://www.theage.com.au/national/a-win-for-the-heritage-fleet-new-harbour-museum-planned-for-north-sydney-20210305-p57826.html  Berry’s Bay is a bay located to the east of the Waverton Peninsula and the west of McMahons Point, on the north of Sydney Harbour.

A number of ship building firms operate from the bay.
South Australia Maritime Museum News
Given that we are being encouraged to holiday at ‘at home’, perhaps consider visiting a new permanent, immersive gallery which has opened at the South Australian Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide. Windjammers is an interactive cinema experience taking visitors back to the age of sail to experience life on board a windjammer, the large commercial sailing ships that delivered South Australian grain to Europe and beyond from the 1880s until the final grain race in 1949. Or, if too far to travel, watch the curator explain the genesis of the exhibition.
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96iarLWN_TMNeptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change
The Neptune Declaration is a global call to action to address the ongoing crew change crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It focuses on concrete actions that can facilitate crew changes and keep vital global supply chains functioning. The Neptune Declaration, signed by more than 750 maritime industry organisations, outlines the main actions that need to be taken to resolve the crew change crisis. Covid-19 has impacted the daily lives and wellbeing of seafarers in unprecedented ways, causing a humanitarian crisis at sea. Hundreds of thousands of seafarers have been stranded, working aboard ships beyond the expiry of their contracts. As the frontline workers of the maritime industry carrying 90% of global trade, seafarers play a vital role in ensuring the global flow of goods that the world depends on. See:
https://www.globalmaritimeforum.org/neptune-declaration.
https://www.offshore-energy.biz/over-300-industry-leaders-sign-neptune-declaration-to-end-crew-change-crisis/:

5 March, Please sir, do not forget us’: Stranded seafarers plead for COVID-19 vaccinations https://www.theage.com.au/national/please-sir-do-not-forget-us-stranded-seafarers-plead-for-covid-19-vaccinations-20210305-p57816.html
6 March, The loneliness of the long-distance seafarer trapped by a pandemic https://www.theage.com.au/national/the-loneliness-of-the-long-distance-seafarer-trapped-by-a-pandemic-20210303-p577ke.html
For those less well versed in mythology – Neptune was the Roman god of water and the sea, and was very similar to the Ancient Greek god Poseidon. He had two brothers: Jupiter, the god of the sky and chief of the Roman gods, and Pluto, the Roman god of the dead. Neptune was often shown carrying a trident, a three-pronged spear used for catching fish.Wondering Who’s Who in International Maritime Industry Sector?
A comprehensive list of the 700+ signatories to the Neptune Declaration may be useful information to maritime stakeholders Let’s hope signing on to the declaration indicates a genuine intention to act– urgently.

Australian Submarine Complexity 
It is no surprise that MMHN takes a keen interest in the ‘submarine issue’. The ‘ripple effect’ is great – economics, training, industry, and most importantly national security. But it is shaping up to be a sorry saga.

  • Ben Packham (The Australian, 9 February 2021 p.2) writes Sub maker tries to keep reputation afloat. Naval Group France is building Australia’s $90 billion ‘Attack’ submarines in South Australia. Many will be aware of the are negative public and political perceptions about the extent to which Naval Group intends to involve local industry in the submarine project; it has pledged to, but not contractually compelled to, deliver 60% of its Attack contracts to Australian companies. Naval Group France has engaged Dragoman consultants to help improve its tarnished image in Australia. Although a retired Christopher Pyne describes this as ‘sensible’, Independent Senator Rex Patrick recommends they just get on with the submarine project!
  • Andrew Tillett writes (Australian Financial Review, 15 February 2021, p.10) ‘Naval Group admits it had to trim subs budget’ blaming Australian suppliers being more expensive and new demands by the Australian government.
  • Alan Austin (Independent Australia, 1 March 2021) writes Many informed commentators in FranceAustralia and elsewhere now expect the much-celebrated deal to be abandoned. If that happens, replacing the current ageing submarines would be delayed many years, depending on the timing of the change of government to a capable administration. See:  https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/government-submarine-contract-sunk-and-unlikely-to-resurface,
  • The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) poses the question ‘What would it take for Australia to walk away from the French submarine deal?’ See https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/what-would-it-take-for-australia-to-walk-away-from-the-french-submarine-deal/
Ferries
MMHN takes a keen interest in ferries, Given our coastline and our extensive system of inland navigable waterways; ferries would generally be considered the ‘lifeblood’ of the culture and economy. Yes this seems not to be happening in in Melbourne. MMHN advocates for this to change. This under-developed transportation ‘resource ‘needs to be properly developed, The flow-on impact of a shift towards expanding the ferry system is obvious – ferry construction, jobs on-shore and on–water, cleaner alternate mode of transport to ease congestion. MMHN sees that maritime construction; skills training and seafaring employment are critical to sustaining our national economy. An example of current the ferry decisions before us now:
  • Tasmanian Ferries

Tasmanian ferries are critical maritime infrastructure between Tasmania and Victoria. Media reports (The Australian, 16 March 2021 Online): ‘$850m Bass Strait ferries contract goes to Finland’. The contract was to replace TT-Line’s Spirit of Tasmania ferries originally provided about $16m of work for local companies, but the Tasmanian Govt. responding to criticism, is now aiming to renegotiate the contract to increase this local percentage of works to between $50m and $100m. Further, they are saying that unless local content percentage can be renegotiated, a new tender will be issued. However, Locals argue that the Tasmanian Govt. should have gone further than trying to renegotiate a shipbuilding contract with Finland-based Rauma Marine Construction, but instead than simply offer the $850m contract to local companies. Stay tuned.

RAN and HMAS Australia
For those of you who have a particular interest in the RAN, MMHN Board member Jeff Malley recommends a recent ‘discovery’ of a document providing a brilliant history on the formation of the RAN and the vessel HMAS Australia vessel with some references to locating the ship at Williamstown in its later days. Jeff writes HMAS Australia was one of three Indefatigable-class battle cruisers built for the defense of the British Empire. Ordered by the Australian government in 1909, she was launched in 1911, and commissioned as flagship of the fledgling Royal Australian Navy in 1913. Her service was extraordinary and illustrious but her demise prosaic and pragmatic – and sad. See: https://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-australia

After returning home, Australia(I) resumed the role of RAN flagship. A year later she played the leading part in the naval activities associated with the visit of the Prince of Wales in HMS Renown, but her time was rapidly running out. The battle cruiser had always consumed a large proportion of the Navy’s budget and manpower, and as funding was reduced the Navy decided that resources could be better applied elsewhere. She was given a nucleus crew and her role downgraded to that of a gunnery and torpedo drill ship at Flinders Naval Depot with a secondary role as a fixed defensive battery. In November 1921 she returned to Sydney and the following month was paid off into reserve on 12 December 1921. Less than three years later she was prepared for scuttling. The RAN removed some of the ship’s equipment for use in other warships before the deliberate scrapping of Australia, extracting piping and other small fittings retaining £30,000 worth of material for future naval use. £35,000 worth of fittings was removed and allocated to the Universities and Technical Colleges of the various states. At least some of these items were used as teaching aids for over fifty years. On 2 January 1924 the Defense Minister signed a £3000 contract to remove everything else. Parts of the vessel went the public as souvenirs. It took 359 men in two shifts. On 12 April 1924 tugs towed what remained of the mighty flagship out to sea where she sank 24 miles from Inner South Head, Sydney. The Prime Minister Stanley Bruce provided a heartfelt eulogy that was widely reported on the night after her sinking.
See https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/164318124

Australian Association for Maritime History
MMHN Board member Dr. Liz Rushen recently joined the committee of the Australian Association for Maritime History (AAHM) as a Victorian representative. As many of you know, maritime history is the study of people and their activities in, on, around and under the waters of the world. This includes oceans, estuaries, rivers and creeks. The AAMH is not restricted to Australia and Australian maritime history; its membership and interests are international in scope. The AAMH welcomes contributions to its journal, The Great Circle. For further information, see: aamh.asn.au

Burnt Ships Tell Tales
MMHN Board member Michael O’Brien recommends a fascinating study reported in the Australasian Institute of Maritime Archaeology (AMIA) Bulletin of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (2015), 39: 97-114 entitled Port Phillip Bay on fire: burnt ships Victoria’s gold-rush era and a study of an archaeological footprint. Author Peter Taylor writes Since Victoria’s earliest colonial days, a number of wooden vessels have caught fire and been burnt in Hobson’s Bay at the northern section of Port Phillip Bay, adjacent to the City of Melbourne. During the Victorian gold-rush of the 1850s this plethora of burnt ship incidents appeared primarily in Victoria. Comparisons between Sydney and Port Phillip are telling – of an estimated 4519 international arrivals in Port Phillip, 12 were vessels burnt (ie.0.204%) whereas in Sydney Harbour, 3 vessels burnt (ie.0.066%) of all international arrivals. Given the influx of ships during this gold-rush period, burnt shipwrecks were considered hazards and rapidly salvaged or demolished thus removing much valuable historical evidence – Bad news from the archaeological perspective! On arrival, crew would often desert their ships and head for the ‘diggings’ possibly a factor linked to burning events. Or perhaps when ships arrived to depressed markets, others further up the maritime economic hierarchy may have played a role — merchants, captains, owners or their agents — could have played a part too. Or was it the construction methods or materials? Of the 12 ships that burnt in Port Phillip Bay during the gold-rush period, 7 (58%) are known to have been built in North America, 2 (17%) in the United Kingdom. During the 1850s, North American shipbuilders were constructing ships by the thousands. Taylor notes: Direct arrivals from North American ports only formed a small portion of all international ship arrivals. Of the estimated 1018 international arrivals in 1853, only 134 arrived directly from North America suggesting that the majority of gold seekers and immigrants were from Europe and the United Kingdom and the reason for so many North American built vessels being burnt is quite complex and there is no one simple explanation for the numbers involved. Different timbers were used in ship construction including chestnut, balsam, hackmatack, rock maple, pitch pine, hard pine, yellow pine, live oak, white oak, and locust for treenails. Decorative timbers were used both internally and externally, and included ash, black cherry, mahogany and bird’s eye maple. Contemporary newspapers report that arson was alleged in many cases but the causes were often not confirmed. Timber scarcity, technological change and North American competition led to a contraction of UK wooden large ship construction (2000-ton). Naval architect and engineers vigorously pursued iron ship-building in the UK, thought to be cheaper to build, greater carrying capacity – and safer? Taylor notes, The future in iron and steam was apparent to those great engineers of the time including Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Brunel), who abandoned wooden steamers for the strength and durability of iron.
See https://www.aima-underwater.org.au/research.html

 


The vessel Result looking from south to north scuttled on St Kilda Bank (State Library of Victoria).

You may also want to look at the UK equivalent organization to AIMA.

News from the Australian Copyright Council 
Maritime stakeholders or groups who publish or exhibit or quote may wish to participate in this professional development opportunity. The ACC is holding a webinar series presented by ACC lawyers and other copyright professionals who will break down the Copyright Act in informative, one-hour sessionsbetween 17 and 30 March, 1-2pm AEST. Topics include Copyright Fundamentals, Using and Making Content, Educational Licensing and The Digital Classroom. See:
https://www.copyright.org.au/ACC_Prod/ACC/Webinars/Webinars.aspx?WebsiteKey=8a471e74-3f78-4994-9023-316f0ecef4ef&hkey=ec28a7df-e2e6-4247-a214-39d6cff80e06

HMAS Castlemaine Ship Museum 
MMHN Board sincerely thanks the volunteers of the Maritime Trust of Australia for hosting the March Board meeting on the deck of the Castlemaine in brilliant sunshine while the mid-week yacht races swept by. Volunteers have been preserving and operating the Castlemaine museum ship since 1974. We were taken on a tour – simply a delight, and astonishing at times. Congratulations all around. A reminder that HMAS Castlemaine, named for the city of Castlemaine, Victoria, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy.
See https://hmascastlemaine.org.au

April / May Events:

Australian Heritage Festival Week commences April 18 – May 2.
Check the program on-line and to register from April 12.
There will be no printed program this year
See https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/ahf/vic/
The MMHN will of course be involved in Melbourne events.
Hopefully there will be maritime heritage events happening all around the State.

MMHN Event held in collaboration with the RAN

  • SUNDAY, APRIL18 12pm-3pmStage at Federation Square
  • Performance by the RAN Band and brief MMHN Presentation

We hope to see you there.  Perhaps consider catching the tram along Flinders St to the Mission to the Mission to Seafarers afterwards, Check the MtoSF website for opening hours.
See http://www.missiontoseafarers.com.au 

Finally –
A reminder – Contact MMHN should you want to raise an issue, seek assistance or contribute to the MMHN Update Email info@mmhn.org.au

Do keep well
Kind regards
Jackie 

Dr Jackie Watts  OAM
Chair,
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network
0400 305 323 or email info@mmhn.org.au
It is time now to renew your membership if you haven’t renewed it yet!
If you are not yet a member, we invite you to join now

Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network
The membership form is available on https://www.mmhn.org.au/