MMHN August/September 2021 Update  

Greetings

Even amid lockdown, Spring 2021 brings a hint of the ‘buoyancy’ that most of us crave. Similarly, two MMHN Board announcements bring optimism and inspiration:

  • The MMHN Board is delighted to warmly welcome a new member – Jacyl Shaw. Jacyl is Global Director of GHD Digital’s innovation practice. Her background in higher education, strategic planning, corporate lawyer and Supreme Court Judges’ Associate and co-founder of several start-ups (including a Fishing App). Pardon the pun, but with such intellect and energy, it is clear that Jacyl is quite a ‘catch’ for MMHN.
  • The MMHN Board is also strengthened by the recent appointment of MMHN Board member Haya Al Daghlas as District Manager Waterways at Parks Victoria. We congratulate Haya and are confident that her intellect, enthusiasm and maritime industry expertise, bodes well, not only for MMHN, but also more broadly for the State of Victoria.


Contents: 
(Click on the headings below for specific items, or scroll down for the full Update)

1. Time to step up – Opportunities to show support for maritime heritage
2. This is where you can help
3. International comparisons
4. Norway – Interesting maritime comparisons
5. Boatyards
6. Royal Historical Society of Victoria – wonderful opportunities
7. October is History Month – showcase your Maritime Heritage!
8. Maritime infrastructure update – Parks Victoria
9. Industrial Heritage of Port Phillip
10. Navy – Reflecting on purpose. What is the navy for?
11. National Maritime Capability – the threat
12. Perfect Storm in the Maritime Industry Sector
13. Green Maritime Propulsion
14. Flags of Convenience – increasing in number
15. Abuse of Seafarers amid COVID
16. News from Seaworks Maritime Precinct
17. OSSA Supporting Seaworks  – Maersk “S” Class vessel
18. Shipwreck Anniversary – the vessel Fiji
19. Wrecks of Port Phillip
20. Maritime archaeology without getting wet
21. Nautical Association of Australia
22. Aurora Australis runabout boat (AA2)
23. MMHN Advocacy during August
24. Diary Notes

1. Time to step up – Opportunities to show support for maritime heritage
Below are two ‘live’ opportunities for ALL maritime enthusiasts. Both opportunities involve advocacy and support for maritime heritage on specific projects. Importantly, both opportunities align with key stated Objectives of the MMHN. We can’t let these opportunities go to waste. All we need is for all maritime enthusiasts to grasp such opportunities:

1.1 Central Pier – future re-development MMHN’s stated objective is for a Maritime Experiential Centre on this iconic heritage-listed site.
In August, Development Victoria (DV) invited MMHN to make a Zoom presentation on the heritage significance of Victoria Harbour and Central Pier. MMHN was delighted to have this opportunity to ensure that those making decisions about this most iconic maritime infrastructure asset in Melbourne understand just how unique Central Pier and Victoria Harbour are – and how poorly this has been understood to date. The invitation from DV is at the start of the $3 million State Government funded consultation process during September/October 2021. MMHN is optimistic that the heritage information we presented and the arguments we will make during the forthcoming DV consultations will be persuasive. But – when public consultations commence, MMHN requests and encourages ALL maritime enthusiasts to participate in the consultations with us. It is critical at this time to ensure that the significance of maritime heritage is particularly considered in the re-development of Central Pier. A reminder that the reason MMHN was intially established was because Melbourne had turned its back on its rich martime heriage. We can’t allow this to happen again. Stay-tuned – we will keep you informed about how to participate in the forthcoming DV consultations. Please take up the opportunity when it becomes available.

Image: Channel 7 News

1.2 Northbank Maritime Trail – The City of Melbourne is shaping the Greenline Trail. MMHN stated objective is for a North Bank Yarra Trail as a ‘medium’ through which to foster public recognition, and encourage exploration, of our comprehensive maritime heritage
The CoM’s proposed $300 million Greenline project along the Yarra River’s Northbank is good news for maritime enthusiasts – a four-kilometre pedestrian and cyclist pathway from Birrarung Marr all the way to the Bolte Bridge. The City of Melbourne (CoM) Greenline Trail concept closely aligns with the MMHN Objective to develop a walking trail from Birrarung to the Blue Swamp. The Yarra River was the basis of Melbourne’s cultural, social and economic success. The river drew people to it as a source of food and fresh water, enabling trade and related industry, transportation, recreation etc. All aspects of the Yarra River – its banks, Estuary, and its related Swamps, which later evolved into Victoria Harbour and docks – are fundamental to our maritime heritage – Indigenous, 19th and 20th centuries. But very few of those making decisions about the re-development along the river and its banks are aware of this.

The MMHN ‘agenda’ during the current consultations for Greenline is to ensure two things:

  • that our rich maritime heritage is acknowledged and not overlooked. We want Greenline to take advantage of the trail’s capacity to present an opportunity to tell the whole story of maritime history along its entire length in an engaging and accessible way. To this end, MMHN has commissioned a comprehensive ‘narrative’ of the maritime heritage (evident or lost) along Greenline. MMHN encourages you to express support AND as you do so, remind the decision-makers that maritime heritage is central to the trail as ‘interpretive’ aspects are developed, Greenline can and should acknowledge the heritage of the entire Yarra from this point forward.
  • That the Trail should extend beyond North Wharf, and take in Victoria Harbour, Harbour Esplanade, New Quay Promenade, and extend to link with the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail.

2. This is where you can help
In May 2021, CoM Council endorsed the Draft Greenline Implementation Plan for works along the north bank of the Yarra River Birrarung. In August 2021, the community engagement process was launched through the Participate Melbourne website to obtain feedback on the Draft Greenline Implementation Plan. MMHN appeals to all maritime enthusiasts to please respond to the survey ASAP . Two important points need to be made in your response (a) Call on CoM to extend Greenline all the way around Victoria Harbour to the Ron Barassi Snr Oval (inexplicably the current plan stops at Collins Wharf) and (b) make sure maritime heritage is factored in as the CoM plans progress. (We can’t allow maritime heritage to be overlooked again). This online engagement platform will be live until Sunday 3 October. Go to:
Participate Melbourne website: https://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/greenline
The first round of stakeholder engagement is primarily the entire Greenline proposal.
In due course further feedback will be sought on individual projects along Greenline.

CoM website.

3. International comparisons


For those needing further motivation to get involved in supporting maritime heritage:
As a member of  the International Congress of Martime Museums (ICMM), MMHN is  acutely aware of the stark contrast between the way martime heriage is valued around the globe and  its struggle for due recognition in Australia. That said, MMHN is ambitious that we can change this. We think the tide is turning and we want to fuel your motivation ( and envy?). We were notified that the ICMM 2021 Congress was to be held in September at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the oldest and largest Maritime Museum in Canada – a great seafaring nation – and not even an island like Australia! Have a look at what Canada has done. Actually – why not have a look at the ICMM website? You will quickly get a sense of the cultural, social and economic value placed on martime heritage in numerous cities. Google maritime museums around the world, click any city – coastal or riverine – and see what is being done to celebrate maritime heritage. Compare this to what has not been done in Melbourne – yet! In your investigating, please share with us what inspires you. Email: info@mmhn.org.au.

4. Norway – Interesting maritime comparisons
Norwegians demonstrably value ships and all those who sail in them. Note that Norway has roughly the same population as Victoria: 5,470,349 and Melbourne has 3 times the population of Oslo 1,056,180. Interesting comparisons with Victoria emerge. Norway’s Museum Nord is a non-profit, government-supported organisation within the museum network, operating 21 different museum units in northern Norway, established in 2002 by recommendation of the Ministry of Culture. Museum Nord contributes to the collection and documentation of historic sites and objects, carrying out research and disseminating and promoting the cultural and natural history of Ofoten, Vesterålen and Lofoten, e.g. the fisher-farmer society, fishing industry, marine resources, mining industry, Arctic, Vikings, Seafaring, Expeditions and Trade by sea. The Norwegian approach – dispersed, well-funded, professional, location-based – Helgeland Museum (South), Nordland Museum (Middle) and Museum Nord (North) – encompasses archaeological sites, architecture, monuments, physical environments of cultural significance, and notably each region’s intangible cultural heritage, aiming to communicate heritage knowledge to a wider audience. There is also a major maritime Museum in Oslo.
See https://marmuseum.no/en
See https://www.museumnord.no/en/our-venues/hurtigruten-museum/

Compare this impressive and successful Norwegian approach to the ad hoc evolution of Victoria’s version of a ‘dispersed approach’ to our rich maritime heritage. Multiple regional museums, all of them valiantly struggling to remain ‘afloat’ and for the most part utterly reliant upon self-help from volunteers and sporadic grants. And in Victoria’s capital city, which was built on maritime endeavour, there is no recognition that maritime heritage has ‘value’. Again – stay tuned. See the Opportunities discussed above. MMHN senses that the ‘tide has turned’.

Norway Museum website

5. Boatyards
Boatyards are usually a delight to maritime heritage enthusiasts. Do you have any favourites you would like to tell us about? Email inf@mmhn.org.au. Here are two for your consideration:

5.1 Blunts Boatbuilders Slipway Timber and Floating Dock
150 Nelson Place, Williamstown,
Heritage Council Victoria writes that Blunts Boatyard and Slipway is of historical and archaeological significance to the State of Victoria. Blunts has operated as a boat building and repair business on this site by the Blunt family since 1926 – 5 generations. The Blunt family operated a boat building business on or near this site from 1888 to circa 1900, before moving to another site on Nelson Place, Williamstown between Ann and Thompson Streets until 1926. The Blunt family had commenced boat-building in Victoria at Geelong in 1858. Blunts Boatyard and Slipway is of historical significance as a rare operating example of the many small scale boat-building and repairing businesses which operated on the Williamstown foreshore from the 1840s. The use, equipment and layout of the yard remain similar to that of earlier in the twentieth century, while many of the other yards have disappeared or have been changed more substantially. The Blunt family boat building business has operated continuously in Williamstown since 1888, and in Victoria since the 1850s. The business occupied a portion of the foreshore on or near the current site when they first moved to Williamstown, signifying a long link between this site and boat-building business. Blunts Boatyard and Slipway is of archaeological significance for its potential to yield information about nineteenth century structures and works which occupied the site at 150 Nelson Place and information related to early boat building and repair structures in Hobson’s Bay.
See https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/13674 and https://www.bluntboats.com.au/full-history

Image provided by OSSA

Note: MMHN has commenced investigations into the possible elevation of Blunts Boatyard from State to National Heritage Listing. Stay-tuned. The process is lengthy and rigorous and the criteria are strict.

5.2  Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing
557-561 Main Road Mordialloc, Kingston City
The founder of this amazing company, Salvatore Pompei, arrived in Melbourne from Sicily in the early 1900s and settled in Mordialloc with his family. He began building boats at their Beach Road property and later taught boat building to his sons. Together they constructed timber clinker and carvel boats and also had fishing boats for hire from Mordialloc Creek. In the 1930s, the boat building business was relocated to the existing site where three to four boats were constructed each year. Jack Pompei, one of Salvatore’s sons became known as ‘Mr Mordialloc’ and was awarded an OAM in 1987 for Service to Marine Search and Rescue Activities in Port Phillip Bay. He rescued hundreds of people from Port Phillip Bay and was an advocate for the conservation and rejuvenation of Mordialloc Creek. Following Jack’s death in 2008, his brother Joe carried on the boat building business until the premises were sold in 2017. A new bridge constructed across Mordialloc Creek in 2009 was named Pompei Bridge and a sculpture was erected to acknowledge the Pompei family’s contribution to the Mordialloc community. Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing is located between the railway line and Mordialloc Creek, Mordialloc. A two-storeyed c.1970s brick building incorporating part of an earlier building is located adjacent to the railway line. Boat moorings, slipways and five small scale buildings of varying size and materials are located opposite along the Mordialloc Creek. Most structures have signage incorporating the Pompei name. A wide dirt road runs between the creek and the c.1970s building, and boats of various materials, shapes and sizes in various states of repair are located on the land in front of and between the buildings.

Although an application for State Heritage Listing was made in 2018, the response was: Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing may be of potential local significance, rather than State level significance. The Heritage Council may wish to consider exercising its powers under s.49(1)(c) of the Heritage Act 2017 to refer the recommendation to the City of Kingston for inclusion in the Heritage Overlay of the planning scheme. Despite Council support, this did not happen. MMHN is grateful for an up-date from Peter Ratcliff, Secretary Mordialloc & District Historical Society who understands is that there is no heritage protection over the Pompei site at all. The building was demolished last year after councillors wanting to protect it failed to get majority support in council. The site is currently the subject of a development application for – 16 units. MMHN made calls to the City of Kingston but there has been no response. Once again, this provides a demonstration that valuable maritime heritage is so easily overlooked and lost.
See https://localhistory.kingston.vic.gov.au/articles/87

Image from Bayside News

6. Royal Historical Society of Victoria – wonderful opportunities
For those involved with a range of heritage projects and sites, MMHN alerts you to free and invaluable events held at the RHSV, 239 A’Beckett St, Melbourne – and on-line of course. For RHSV membership and registering for tickets to all events, see https://www.historyvictoria.org.au/rhsv-events/

  • Go Virtual for History Month: Monday 13 September 12pm-1pm by ZOOM & FREE. Jess Scott, RHSV’s Marketing Officer will be joined by a panel of gurus to talk about their experience with virtual events and projects. An opportunity learn and also to bring your queries and issues to a forum.
  • Cataloguing clinic: Thursday 23 September 11am-12pm by ZOOM & FREE. Jillian Hiscock, RHSV Collections Manager, will focus on cataloguing of objects (including medals), helping people through the intricacies of cataloguing material in historical collections. Historical collections exist between a library, a museum and an art gallery. Specific queries and questions are encouraged

7. October is History Month – showcase your Maritime Heritage!
MMHN encourages all maritime historical historical groups to consider this opportunity to generate interest and enthusiasm about your maritime heritage site or collection – or consider collaborating with others nearby, e.g. local schools, libraries and other community organisations. FYI – History Month overlaps with the Seniors Festival and Children’s Week so why not ‘piggy-back’ on these local festivals to devise a maritime heritage event? Brainstorm what you might do – look at the RHSV website.
See https://www.historyvictoria.org.au/

8. Maritime infrastructure update – Parks Victoria
MMHN is pleased to be sharing good news about Parks Victoria’s actions to preserve maritime infrastructure. Restoration works are happening on Queenscliff South Pier, Waiting Shed and Lifeboat Shed – a $1 million upgrade that will preserve important heritage values. The Lifeboat Shed will undergo external recladding and reroofing, refurbishment of windows and doors and internal repairs to the floor decking, and maintenance painting. Repairs will also be done to the Waiting Shed exterior including repairing the gable ends and finials, structural wall frame repairs, replacement of weatherboards and other exterior woodwork to preserve the historic building fabric. Completion is scheduled for early October 2021.

This is indeed good news. Queenscliff South Pier and Lifeboat Shed were an integral part of the infrastructure provided to improve the safety for ships entering or leaving Port Phillip. Many lives were saved through the efforts of the crews that manned the lifeboat, which is now located in the nearby Queenscliff Maritime Museum. The Queenscliff South Pier and Lifeboat Complex is of historical significance for its associations with the lifeboat service, the sea pilot service, the famous bay ferries and paddle steamers dating back to the 1880s. This restoration project is a jointly funded initiative through Heritage Victoria’s Living Heritage Program and the Victorian Government Better Piers and Waterside Facilities program. Completion is scheduled for early October 2021. The Queenscliff South Pier was built in 1884 and was called the ‘Steamer Pier’ as it catered for steamboat use for passengers and carriage of goods. The Lifeboat Shed was constructed on the now dismantled Fishermen’s Pier north of the existing pier between 1926-29 and included a slipway with roller, channel, keelway and cradle to store the Queenscliff Lifeboat, and relocated to the current site in 1946. This lifeboat was in service for approximately 50 years, and attended many calls for assistance, including the search for Prime Minister Harold Holt in 1967. Today it can be seen at the Queenscliff Maritime Museum. The Lifeboat Shed and Waiting Shed were added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 1982 as a symbol of both historical and architectural significance to Victoria, as a rare example of timber pier structures – with few remaining in Victoria. Doors, windows and louvre panels have been removed from the Lifeboat shed to be restored / refurbished off site and then reinstalled.
See https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/queenscliff-pier-preservation-works

Images from Parks Victoria website

Parks Victoria has also recently finished the restoration of the Cowes Pier and a re-build of Tooradin jetty and advises that pier works are now also underway at Middle Brighton, Portarlington, and Rye. You may see more detail on plans at:
Altona Pier – https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/altona-pier-redevelopment
Cowes Jettyhttps://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/cowes-jetty-improvements
Portarlington – https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/portarlington-harbour-access-improvements
Tooradinhttps://www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/tooradin-jetty

9. Industrial Heritage of Port Phillip
MMHN Board member Michael O’Brien has discovered a short video of interest to those aware of value placed on industrial heritage elsewhere in the world. Historical images recently emerging from the Public Records Office reveal that around Victoria Harbour was immensely sophisticated maritime infrastructure – dismantled and discarded in the rush to convert the harbour to merely waterfront real estate.
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3N-jQp2nQI

PROV Image of Central Pier –Floating Crane the infrastructure

10. Navy – Reflecting on purpose. What is the navy for?
We all understand that extraordinary technological change has transformed the way all parts of the defense forces operate. However, the role of the Navy appears to be both progressive and yet, of necessity, serving the nation in ways which are steeped in history. The United States Naval Institute recently (Proceedings April 2021) Nicholas A. Lambert” Strategic purpose is not the same thing as operational necessities. USNI Proceeding (August 2021) S.C.M. Paine writes: Since the Industrial Revolution, the currency of international power has shifted from land to commerce. The incoming global maritime order focuses on compounding wealth by minimizing transaction costs, while the outgoing order of competing continental empires focused on pounding each other.1 The old system destroyed wealth; the new one creates it, as the statistics show. In 2020, an article from the Centre for International Maritime Security suggested a 66-70-80-90-99 rule, highlighting that 66% of global wealth comes from or near the sea; 70% of the globe is oceanic; 80% of its population is coastal; 90% of goods arrive by sea; and 99% of international digital traffic goes by submarine cable.
See https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2021/

11. National Maritime Capability – the threat
While the MMHN Special Advisory Group on Maritime Skills and Training is primarily addressing the acute maritime skills shortages facing Australia, this extract from Jonathan Saul’s article, Pool of Ship Officers is Running Dry (Reuters, 3 August 2121) suggests that, exacerbated by COVID, the dire threat of skills shortages is actually global. “There could be a shortage of merchant sailors to crew commercial ships in five years if action is not taken to boost numbers, raising risks for global supply chains. The shipping industry is already struggling with crewing shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic; a situation that will exacerbate expected labour supply problems over the next few years, according to the study published by trade associations BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The Delta variant of the coronavirus has hit hard in parts of Asia and prompted many nations to cut off land access for sailors. That’s left captains unable to rotate weary crews and about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their stints, in a flashback to 2020 and the height of lockdowns when over 200,000 merchant sailors were stuck on ships. The study released by BIMCO and ICS estimated that 1.89 million seafarers were operating over 74,000 vessels in the global merchant fleet.

None of this is news but governments, including Australia, have failed to respond. In 2015, the Seafarer Workforce Report predicted that based on projections for growth in shipping trade, there was a current shortfall of 26,240 certified officers, and that an additional 89,510 officers would be needed by 2026 – further, that demand for seafarers had outpaced supply in 2021. ICS Secretary General Guy Platen said: We are far beyond the safety net of workforce surplus that protects the world’s supply of food, fuel, and medicine, … Without urgent action from governments the supply of seafarers will run dry. The report said more emphasis was needed to recruit and retain seafarers. Platten, citing industry surveys, added that as few as 20% of seafarers around the world had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and urged governments to prioritize essential transport.

12. Perfect Storm in the Maritime Industry Sector
Leaving aside skills shortages, International Shipping News (3 August 2021) reports on the perfect storm of disruptive factors adversely impacting shipping. The COVID-19 pandemic has created winners and losers across the economy, disruptions to shipping and challenge for importers. Besides a global pandemic, the most noteworthy disruption was the astounding blockage of the Suez Canal in March 2021, which caused major disruption to shipping schedules and a backlog in deliveries. That said, following the initial decline at the onset of the pandemic, there has been strong consumer recovery in demand since the summer of 2020. But international shipping is being affected by container shortages and port congestion, which are causing operational challenges. These dynamics have created what many are describing as a perfect storm and will result in a significant surge in prices. Indeed, a clear indicator of this is that container price indexes showed record increases over the last 12 months.

13. Green Maritime Propulsion
We have recently heard of an interesting collaboration involving the development of hydrogen fuel for shipping. Australia has historically been at the forefront of maritime innovation triggered perhaps by the need for self-reliance – so distant from Europe. The technology group Wärtsilä Marine Power signed a MOU with Australia’s, Global Energy Ventures (GEV) specialising in delivering compressed shipping solutions for transporting energy to regional markets. The two companies will cooperate on the inclusion of Wärtsilä propulsion systems in GEV’s compressed hydrogen (C-H2) ships aiming to demonstrate the availability of a highly efficient, low-emissions propulsion systems. We can deliver a shipping solution that is completely sustainable,” says Martin Carolan, CEO, GEV. This project is an important steppingstone along the journey towards a decarbonised maritime industry, something that Wärtsilä is fully committed to supporting. We are actively developing propulsion alternatives that can utilise future carbon-neutral fuels, raise efficiency levels, and which significantly improve environmental performance. This agreement with GEV is fully in line with our own ambitions, says Petteri Saares, Sales Director, Compression delivers a proven, simple, and efficient method for transporting green hydrogen. It is a preferred solution for marine hydrogen transport but is often overlooked due to its lower volumetric energy density. See https://www.wartsila.com/media/news/24-06-2021-wartsila-and-global-energy-ventures-to-cooperate-on-propulsion-solutions-for-hydrogen-vessel-293802

Image from Wartsila/GEV media

14. Flags of Convenience – increasing in number
Weirdly – or perhaps not really. There is nothing weird about money after all! San Marino, a mountainous microstate landlocked in north-central Italy, has recently become an Open Registry for Shipping. Shipowners from anywhere in the world can potentially register there and sail under the San Marino flag. Many of these types of registrations become Flags of Convenience, where oversight is minimal, seafarers are exploited, and pollution and other crimes occur. The history and rationale for the Flags of Convenience system is darkly fascinating. We should ask –should this be allowed to continue?

MMHN recommends that you listen to this important podcast from the ABC’s Philip Adams:
https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/flags-of-convenience-and-the-rise-of-modern-spiritualism/13504948

Marine Insight (19 August 2021) reports: The news comes in the same month the ITF added seven new countries to its list of Flags of Convenience — that register ships with no genuine link to the country. Many have a poor record in protecting the seafarers who work on ships flying their flag.
See: https://www.marineinsight.com/shipping-news/san-marino-sets-up-business-as-a-ship-registry-despite-being-landlocked/

Images from San Marino website.                                                    FOC = Flags of Convenience

15. Abuse of Seafarers amid COVIDAnchor
MMHN notes with acute dismay multiple media reports of distressed seafarers bearing the brunt of COVID-19 on global trade, unable to go ashore, isolated far from home and often abandoned by shipping companies. Civilized countries should not tolerate this. Fortunately, global seafarer welfare organizations continue to step up to support these workers when their employers callously ignore them. Stella Maris UK has produced a report about how it has adapted its services to seafarers during the pandemic to ensure that seafarers continue to be supported. Case studies included in the report cover the growing pace of abandonment of ships; continued human rights abuses and modern slavery; death and increasing cases of suicide at sea; contractual issues of wages, shore leave and repatriation; piracy; and the impact of all these issues, allied to the added privations, pressures and challenges of the pandemic on the worsening mental health of many seafarers
See: https://www.stellamaris.org.uk/stella-maris-life-at-sea-report-2020/

Protesting seafarers Image from Stella Maris website.

16. News from Seaworks Maritime Precinct
An enormous 9-ton anchor, donated to Seaworks from the late John Korevaar from Korevaar Marine Group, has been installed. Glenn Jones EO of the Seaworks Maritime Precinct tells us that this family-owned company has operated in the Port of Melbourne since 1967. The Korevaar family has a maritime history spanning over five generations in The Netherlands and Australia and their head office is based in Williamstown. It was a monumental and very collaborative effort to install the anchor. The Seaworks Foundation thanks the following companies for their assistance in making the installation of the anchor possible : Waterside Engineering Pty Ltd, Cox Steel Coating, PPG Paint, Environmental Technology Solutions, Calleja Group, McKay and United Cranes.

Images provided by Seaworks

17. OSSA Supporting Seaworks  – Maersk “S” Class vessel
Further news from Seaworks is the acquisition of a magnificent model of the Maersk “S” Class vessel donated by Offshore and Specialist Ships Australia (OSSA). The model was located in Perth and OSSA transported it to Melbourne on a long-term loan for display at Seaworks. The model is an outstanding example of the specialist ships that service the oil and gas industry. OSSA also provided a photograph of a similar Maersk vessel in operation with a rig to give a good example of part of the work these ‘workhorses’ of the ocean do. Offshore oil and gas have provided Australia with immense value since first discovery in Bass Strait in the early 1960s. There are a number of other models of these specialised vessels in the OSSA display at the Mission to Seafarers in Melbourne – for see when COVID restrictions ease.

Image provided by OSSA

18. Shipwreck Anniversary – the vessel Fiji
September 2021 marks exactly 130 years since the shipwreck of the vessel Fiji. Maritime enthusiast Alan Read raised this with MMHN because advocacy is needed to raise awareness that eleven sailors and one brave rescuer died, near Moonlight Head in south-west Victoria, along the famous shipwreck coast west of Apollo Bay. Inexplicably, the responsible authorities (The Great Ocean Road Authority and Parks Victoria) seem oblivious to this most fascinating and dramatic rescue and fail to understand the significance of maritime heritage – even along the Ship Wreck Coast!

A campaign has begun to restore a monument erected by the local community on the cliff-top. The Fiji, with a crew of 24 was one day out from berthing in Melbourne after a 106-day voyage from Hamburg, when it hit a reef in the early hours of Sunday, 6 September 1891. The following Friday night, a concert was held in Warrnambool to raise money to assist the 15 survivors who were left with just their saturated undergarments. In March 1892 district fundraising resulted in a memorial to the lost seafarers including local land selector Arthur Wilkinson whose brave attempt to swim to the vessel with a lifeline proved fatal. Funds were also sent to the widows via the shipping company. The monument sits high on the cliff above the wreck-site and is adjacent to where the seven recovered bodies were buried four days after the disaster. Four sailors were never found. All the victims are identified on the marble memorial. It is now surrounded by dense coastal scrub and virtually inaccessible, but a campaign has begun for a Parks Victoria construction of a 300-metre walking track off the Great Ocean Walk, to enable bushwalkers to pay their respects and connect with their maritime heritage along the Ship Wreck Coast. Alan says local men from the Port Campbell rocket crew attempted to fire a line out to the stricken ship, then waded and swam into the icy and wild water to rescue sailors who had grasped the light rope and plunged into the sea as darkness fell.
Alan would like to see a track called Rescuers Trail cut through the dense scrub for visitors to the monument, who would then return to the GOW to resume their trek. Descendants of the men active in the rescue effort are others hoping to be able to reach the memorial.
Alan McLean is happy to discuss this campaign – on 0412 143660

MMHN will do what we can – but you may all assist by writing to support Alan’s campaign to simply get the responsible authorities to clear a 200-metre gravel access track from the Great Ocean Road Walk to the Memorial. Not a big ask really? Send your views to request for action to:
info@greatoceanroadauthority.vic.gov.au and Parks Victoria at info@parks.vic.gov.au

Image provided by Alan Read

19. Wrecks of Port Phillip
MMHN Board member Jeff Malley recently came across this most interesting catalogue of Port Phillip wrecks prepared by Jane Mitchell of Heritage Victoria in 2016. It provides excellent ship summaries, their significance and location information. Listed below is Heritage Victoria’s website with descriptive and legislative information on shipwrecks sites. Port Phillip Heads is considered one of the most dangerous port entry points for ships in Australia. Its narrow, deep entrance, sharp reefs and surging waters have caused many shipping casualties over the past 200 years. The bay itself consists of ever-changing sand bars and water depths and has created many more shipwrecks since European settlement. These wrecks are culturally significant, telling the story of the development of the state of Victoria and contributing significantly to the rise of Melbourne. From 16–24 March 2016, Heritage Victoria’s maritime archaeologists spent eight days in the field around Port Phillip Bay. The main focus of this year’s fieldwork was to take corrosion measurements on iron shipwrecks and complete the last phase of the Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Project. Site inspections and coordinate confirmation for many of Victoria’s significant wrecks was proposed and to confirm reports of a new shipwreck. The fieldwork also aimed to test new 3D photogrammetry techniques in the often-difficult environment of Port Phillip. See https://www.heritage.vic.gov.au/heritage-listings/maritime-heritage

Image from the Report

20. Maritime archaeology without getting wet
The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) in Sydney recently launched a new educational online game, Wreck Seeker. Three years under development, Wreck Seeker is a gamiefied learning platform where players take the role of a modern maritime archaeologist hunting for some of Australia’s most elusive 17th – 20th century shipwrecks. Designed to enable teachers to explain, develop and refine students’ historical skills and applicable across the Australian curriculum. Players ‘speak’ to historians, eyewitnesses, local fishers and other subject experts before deciding which sources offer the most reliable information. They then overlay this research onto a map before diving, in 3D, on six beautifully re-created underwater environments. ANMM offers two similar games: The Voyage and Cook’s Voyages. Investment and judicious use of such gaming technology has resulted in exponential expansion of educational outreach.

21. Nautical Association of Australia

MMHN is delighted to have reciprocal membership with the NAA. The NAA produces a wonderfully detailed informative quarterly journal aptly named ‘The Log” journal and has granted MMHN permission to include extracts of interest to MMHN members – all of whom will obviously agree with NAA President Howard Dick who writes in his 2020 Report in The Log; In the UK, historic ships are urban landmarks and tourist attractions and have played a key role in revitalizing the waterfronts of regional cities and towns … In Australia and NZ, however, indifference mostly rules which ought to be surprising because Australian and NZ are no less island nations whose major cities are coastal. Heritage collections and maritime museum should therefore be part of the fabric of port cities and towns. And because so much of Austrasia’s is shipping ‘outsourced’, even its coastal shipping and not a lot can be expected of private enterprise, government needs to step up and provide support to a long-term framework. MMHN could not agree more.

22. Aurora Australis runabout boat (AA2)
OSSA reports good news for the Aurora Australis Runabout boat (AA2). It has now been insured and found a temporary home in Hobart at Cleanlift (just across the harbour from Taylor Bros). She will stay there under the ownership of the Aurora Australis Foundation until such times as Hobart Maritime Museum and Hobart City Council agree on a permanent display site for this historic vessel.

23. MMHN Advocacy during August

  • Two meetings with different sections of the State Education System in relation to Maritime Skills, Education and Careers with specific reference to careers – TAFE &  Secondary Sector
  • Contact with officers with the Minister for Tourism Martin Pakula   re support for the Maritime Experiential Centre
  • Contact with officers with the Minster for Ports, Freight and Fishing, Melissa Horne  re presentation from Freight Victoria
  • Contact with MAB Developers re Victoria Harbour plans
  • Contact with Yarra Traders Group re Southbank Maritime Precinct
  • Contact with Parks Victoria re piers
  • Contact with City of Melbourne re Greenline and Central Pier
  • Contact Beacon Cove Residents Group re Station Pier
  • Contact with Mordialloc Historical Group and City of Kingston re Pomeie’s Boatyard

24. Diary Notes
Please note in your diaries:

  • Thursday, 7 October at 4.30 pm, the re-scheduled tie for the MMHN Women in Maritime Industry Forum. MMHN is delighted that the Hon. Minister for Ports, Freight, Fishing and Boating, Melissa Horne has again agreed to speak at the opening of this event – which be confident will prove to be as be even more popular!  Should CVOD restrictions frustrate again – we may have to resort to Zoom. (Surely not!)
  • Wednesday, 13 October at 5.00pm – MMHN AGM.
  • Friday, 1 October at 6 pm the Amazon 1863 Project at The Hub, Inverloch, the eagerly anticipated and now re-scheduled event, ‘Artifact Unveiling’.

Until next month,

Kind regards
Jackie
Dr Jackie Watts OAM
Chair,
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network
0400 305 323 or email info@mmhn.org.au

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