MMHN May 2021 Update

Greetings

May 2021  MMHN Update contents: 

1. Maritime Museums Victoria (MMV)
2. Ferries are inspiring!
3. Harbour Esplanade on Victoria Harbour
4. Central Pier  – Heritage at Risk
5. Maritime Experiential Centre on Central Pier
6. City of Melbourne Greenline Trail, North Bank of the Yarra
7. Goods Shed No.5 – a positive restoration story along the Greenline
8. Navy League
(Vic & Tas) News
9. Peninsula Ship Society (PSS)
10. Port of Hastings
11. Model Ship Collection Mystery?
12. Neglect of Maritime infrastructure
13. OSSA News
14. The Floater Prelude
big in every way
15. Propulsion on Water – Wind future perhaps 

16. Marine Evolutions Response Vessels (MERVS)
17. MMHN Museum of the Month
18. Osborne House, Geelong Maritime Museum   – Update
19. The Amazon Wreck o Project
20. Portland Discovery Centre

21. Shipping Australia – A maritime industry peak body
22. Neptune Declaration

1. Maritime Museums Victoria (MMV)
Welcome back MMV! Despite the COVID ‘hiccup‘ this week in Melbourne, MMHN is cheered to note that MMV has now re-convened after last years’ COVID induced hiatus. Taken in its entirety, MMV represents a unique, diverse and altogether marvellous dispersed collection of maritime heritage in this State. We should regard it as Victoria’s Maritime Supermuseum. No single museum can offer what MMV can – sixteen museum sites with something for everyone, from detailed exhibits and restored vessels to entire villages with amazing lightshows, see: http://mmv.com.au

2. Ferries are inspiring!
A rose (or ferry terminal?) by any other nameThe search for an appropriate name for the proposed VH08 passenger transfer area is part of the re-development of this prime transport site. It is an important element in relation to tourism, but there is more…

Ferries as Public Transport

MMHN advocates strongly that public transport via ferry is an undeveloped mode of transport in this congested city. We trust that when investing public money in this maritime infrastructure asset, Development Victoria is liaising closely with the Minister for Transport in order to ensure that this public investment in ferry infrastructure supports BOTH the public and the private sector. This ferry terminal will serve charter vessels and ferries and it has the potential to be a prime Docklands DESTINATION akin to the Flinders Street steps ‘under the clocks’, or Circular Quay ferry wharf, Sydney. AND IT NEEDS A NAME! See attached map of the location:
https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/sitecollectiondocuments/commercial-scheduled-berths.pdf

Ferry inspiration – Art Poetry and Song
The ‘Ferry across the Mersey’ is memorable to many because of the nostalgic Gerry and the Pacemakers song. The Ferry runs along the Mersey River from Liverpool to the Wirral Peninsula in England and remains an attraction because the song came to symbolize the Mersey sound, made famous by Liverpool-based bands like The Beatles and The Kinks. Its impact on the community continues through the Mersey Ferries poetry competition which organisers claim will surely float your boat! The 2021 Liverpool Year of Writing in collaboration with Mersey Ferries, is calling for ferry-based creativity – a short poem inspired by the theme ‘ferries’, written by children and young people aged up to 16. Three local literary luminaries are the judges. Looks a lot of fun:
https://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/event/poetry-of-the-ferry/

Hong King Star Ferries – inspiring through technological advances
The famous and frenetic Hong Kong Star Ferries chugging across Victoria Harbour are familiar to many of us, but carbon emission reduction can’t wait. In March 2020 the Morning Star Ferry commenced its ‘green’ operations after a six-month re-fit. Powered by Diesel-Electric Propulsion System (DEPS), it is the first low emission green ferry in the Star fleet, considered a ‘pilot’ to improve air quality on Victoria Harbour and pave the way for a fully electric-powered ferries service in Hong Kong. Star Ferry propulsion has evolved from first-generation coal-fired steam engine ferries to a diesel engine trial of emulsified diesel a decade ago, to the self-developed wet scrubber and today’s DEPS coupled with the use of low-sulphur fuel to further reduce gas emission. The retrofit of the next Silver Star will follow and eventually there will be a fully electric-powered ferry service in Hong Kong. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a proliferation of Green Star Ferries on Melbourne’s own Victoria Harbour? See:
http://www.starferry.com.hk/sites/default/files/200709%20Morning%20Star%20Post-event%20Press%20Release_e.pdf

Note for your Diary
The next MMHN seminar will be held on Wednesday 23 June, 5pm at Docklands Library:
Ferries of Melbourne: – Past, Present, Future – Good, Better, Best?
History shows us that Melbourne’s ferries have delivered significant social and economic benefit to the community in the past. Today they are a woefully under-developed transport option. The opportunity to expand ferries services in this State and in this City remains high. Explore the topic with us – and key stakeholders.

3. Harbour Esplanade on Victoria Harbour
MMHN Board member Michael O’Brien has discovered a maritime hidden treasure. He recently came across a 72-page glossy City of Melbourne Council Master Plan from 2015 which promised so much – and it actually referred to maritime heritage: Harbour Esplanade will be the primary public space in Docklands. A fine boulevard for promenading, an opportunity to experience elements of Melbourne’s rich maritime heritage and a place to welcome and guide the public through the sub-precincts of Melbourne Docklands and the central city. It will be flexible, adaptive, changing – an event space by the water. Pleasing sentiments indeed and its regrettable that so little has been done to achieve such vision. And the images are inspiring. See
https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/about-council/committees-meetings/meeting-archive/MeetingAgendaItemAttachments/688/12416/JUN15%20FMC1%20Agenda%20item%206.4.pdf

4. Central Pier  – Heritage at Risk
Given that it seems patently obvious that expertise exists to restore Central Pier, Development Victoria deserves no kudos whatsoever for maintenance of the pier. The puzzle persists.
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHcqUi-I-98&t=87s

That said – POSSIBLY GOOD NEWS!
MMHN notes in the recent State government Budget, $3 million has been allocated to DV to progress planning and design work as part of a business case to develop future plans for the pier in Docklands, which was permanently closed in January 2020. Geoff Ward, Group Head, Precincts at Development Victoria said. The redevelopment of Central Pier is a long-term project and we are looking forward to consulting with the community and other stakeholders to kick-start the planning phase. And potentially exciting news for maritime stakeholders, This will include looking at all options to respectfully preserve the heritage of the Pier and surrounding docks while also taking a wider approach to revitalising the waterfront in Docklands, which is a key priority for Development Victoria.

Before squandering yet more valuable heritage infrastructure, MMHN recommends that Development Victoria read these accounts of pier maintenance and restoration. The very pier that Development Victoria cut in half and seems intent on demolishing further. Unfathomable!

5. Maritime Experiential Centre on Central Pier
Central Pier is the prime location to realize a key MMHN objective – an iconic architecturally significant Maritime Experiential Centre to educate, entertain and excite the wider community on all matters maritime. What better place than the Docklands to maximize the value of this iconic site and celebrate is critical role in Victoria’s prosperity? Creative technology would showcase Melbourne’s key yet undervalued assets – maritime heritage and maritime industry. In a previous MMHN Update (November 2020) we showcased the Chinese Maritime Museum on a similar site at Melbourne’s sister city Tianjin. See: https://www.coxarchitecture.com.au/project/national-maritime-museum-of-china/


Michael O’Brien has also discovered a fascinating – and let’s hope inspirational – early proposal for locating an iconic museum on Central Pier. Here is another futuristic design for the tip of Central Pier! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUJjconArtc&t=7s

6.  City of Melbourne Greenline Trail, North Bank of the Yarra
Another of the five key MMHN objectives is a connected, informative Maritime Heritage Trail along the north bank of the Yarra enabling informational signage and new creative technologies to effectively ‘tell the story’ of the Yarra River – the primary trade thoroughfare of this city. Acknowledging the role of trade by sea in driving Melbourne’s economic prosperity in the past and present day is of crucial importance. Fortunately, the City of Melbourne (CoM) Councillors agree! The proposed CoM Greenline Trail Plan aligns to an extent with the stated MMHN ‘vision’ for North Bank (see Case for Maritime Heritage Trail on MMHN website). Council recently voted to put the Greenline Plan out for public consultation (see MMHN website www.mmhn.org.au). MMHN has submitted a detailed analysis of the plan – and we encourage others to make a submission also.

The major MMHN criticism of the CoM Greenline concept is that, although it recognises the existence of maritime heritage along the Yarra, it does not go nearly far enough in acknowledging the irrefutable historical evidence that there was maritime trade activity trade along both sides of the river and estuary. Nor does it acknowledge that splendid example of 19th century civil engineering, the excavated Victoria Harbour. Nor the heritage-listed Central Pier on Harbour Esplanade. While offering in principle support for the Greenline Plan, the MMHN submission makes it clear than this draft Greenline Plan is deficient in its current form. See MMHN submission available on the MMHN website www.mmhn.org.au. MMHN encourages you to submit your comments which will be available on the City of Melbourne website in due course.

7. Goods Shed No.5 – a positive restoration story along the Greenline
MMHN member, Emma Russell, tells us that the simple old shed (although things are never as simple as they seem) at the end of Flinders Street is the key to a development project from Riverlee that will ‘build with history rather than over it’. During the next couple of years we’ll be able to watch how both cultural and economic values can be enhanced when old structures are carefully retained, restored and enriched by interpretation and storytelling, instead of being demolished in a cloud of dust.

MMHN recommends that you read, and watch, how this is being done at Goods Shed No.5 – the only place in Melbourne where it is possible to see all the elements of a traditional (pre-containerisation) berth. See: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53fbe804e4b0a36315c3b719/t/608a7edc36d21d2b32bfe22f/1619689195040/From+Whelan+the+Wrecker+to+the+circular+economy.pdf

8. Navy League (Vic & Tas) News
News from the Navy League (NL) which has such an inspiring motto: Keeping Watch over the Maritime Wellbeing of Australia (and one which is very closely aligned with that of the MMHN!) Good news – Another welcome return to engagement, the Navy League has re-commenced activities post-Lockdown!

Submarines
A fine example of this NL motto in action is the NL effectively keeping watch relates to submarines – a very topical matter these days. Given that the current French-built submarines will not be sustainable in the long-term, NL has identified a need for a strategic vision for the use of nuclear powered submarines instead of diesel-electric.
Late development on this vexed matter – 27/5 ABC reports on article by Andrew Greene  : “The Royal Australian Navy is said to be looking at options to boost the nation’s submarine capabilities in the medium-term, given that the first of the new French-designed vessels will not enter service until the mid-2030s. The navy is said to be undertaking a scoping study on a diesel-electric submarine from Germany-based TKMS; the company was among the bidders for the $90bn submarine contract that was awarded to France’s Naval Group in 2016. Other options are believed to include bringing forward an upgrade of the Collins Class submarines”. See: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/newsradio/navy-exploring-options-to-source-german-submarines/13361652

Yachties
Navy League alerted MMHN to the following: Few people are aware that for the five war years and into the post-war era Australia’s ‘Yachties’ offered themselves and their vessels to serve Australia’s Navy – at no cost. Port Phillip Yachties organized a huge annual maritime event on Port Phillip Bay, the annual Lonsdale Cup.  Royal Victorian Motor Yacht Club (RVMYC) continues to support this tradition holding an annual Navy League Yacht Race for the Lonsdale Cup. Referencing maritime heritage, the Lonsdale Cup is named after the RAN Base HMAS LONSDALE at Port Melbourne, which was the HQ of the WW2 Volunteer Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP). The Base itself was named after the torpedo boat, HMVS-HMAS Lonsdale, and also Captain William Lonsdale, appointed the first Chief Government Agent for the Port Philip district.

9. Peninsula Ship Society (PSS)
MMHN was invited recently to Hastings Yacht Club to speak at a meeting of the PSS. From the MMHN perspective; the PSS is an invaluable ‘human’ maritime resource – a ‘treasure trove’ of fascinating maritime experience. Its members are drawn all aspects of the seafaring world, Merchant Navy, Royal Australian Navy; stevedores, square rig devotees, weekend ‘yachties’, cruise ship passengers, and other maritime enthusiasts who simply enjoy conversations involving maritime matters. The conversations are, as you can imagine, wide ranging. There is a guest speaker at each of the monthly meetings and members have access to a collection of shipping books and other maritime ephemera. Contact: emauriehutch@gmail.com or iaroth@bigpond.com

10. Port of Hastings
Port of Hastings is on, of course, Western Port and was initially known as King’s Creek. It was renamed c.1860, either after Warren Hastings, the Governor-General of India, or after the town of Hastings in Sussex. Travelling through the Western Port area, the Assistant Protector of Aborigines, William Thomas, encountered Aboriginal people, clans living as hunter-gatherers, moving within their lands to make use of seasonal plant and animal resources, engaging in trading opportunities and to meet ritual and kinship obligations – and noting that coastal clans used to travel by canoe to French Island to obtain eggs (Gaughwin & Sullivan 1984, pp.93-94). Although Hastings has been a port since the early 1800s, there seems little in the way of recorded colonial maritime heritage. By 1812 European seal hunters were visiting Western Port on a seasonal basis and by 1826 they were permanently settled at Phillip Island exploiting the seal colony at Seal Rocks (Gaughwin & Sullivan 1984, p.82).

Fast forward to the 1960s, the land surrounding the Port of Hastings was reserved for port related uses and in the 1970s the state identified Western Port’s potential for large scale process industries, which require both deep water and extensive land adjacent to a port. The port’s proximity to the oil and gas fields of Bass Strait and easy access for large vessels along the natural deep channels has given the port a key role in the energy sector. Like most matters relating to maritime matters, bureaucratic tangles and demarcations are evident in Western Port. Although maintaining the deep channels offshore in Western Port are within the control of the Victorian Regional Channels Authority, in 2012 the Port of Hastings Development Authority (PoHDA) was established to operate the port and maintain associated port infrastructure (except for the BlueScope owned steel wharves). See: https://www.portofhastings.com.

Aspiration for the Port of Hastings has apparently grown since that time. In May 2016, Infrastructure Victoria (IV) was tasked with providing advice on the future capacity of Victoria’s commercial ports. Specifically, advice on when the need for a second container port is likely to arise and which variables may alter this timeline. Further advice on where a second container port would ideally be located and under what conditions, including the suitability of, and barriers to investing in, sites at the Port of Hastings and the Bay West location. The advice built on earlier work which commenced – but then was cancelled in 2014. From this more recent advice from Infrastructure Victoria, the State government identified the Port of Hastings as the preferred site for the State’s next major container port and therefore essential for the long-term economic growth of Victoria as container trade increases and the Port of Melbourne is expected to reach capacity. The PoHDA progressed the staged planning for the new port including a business case, environmental assessment and social impact assessment for the Port of Hastings Development Project 2014 to 2018. By the mid-2020s, it was envisaged that a world-class sustainable container port facility will begin operations at Hastings, handling up to 3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) each year, increasing to around 9 million TEU by 2060. How far has this aspiration been fulfilled?
See:https://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Andrew_Long_and_Associates_for_GHD_Aecom_Aboriginal_Cultural_Heritage_Desktop_Assessment.pdfIn

11. Model Ship Collection Mystery?
MMHN been approached to help locate a vast collection of remarkable ship models built by the late Peter Jupe (Qld). Peter had very large collection of hand-built model ships which was given, it is thought, to a Victorian museum after his death in 1987. If anyone knows anything about this collection or has ideas on tracing it, please email: info@mmhn.org.au


Mr. Jupe’s great-great-great nephew is now making shop models – this is the Titanic model

12. Neglect of Maritime infrastructure
All around Port Phillip Bay valuable public assets – our maritime infrastructure – is collapsing. It’s not rocket science – it is actually common knowledge that maritime infrastructure requires – wait for it – MAINTENANCE! Maritime enthusiasts everywhere have been pointing to this seemingly obvious issue for decades. The response is patchy or non-existent.

A reminder that a stated objective of MMHN is that there be a review and rationalisation of the management of waterways infrastructure and assets by responsible authorities. Evidence abounds that the current allocation of responsibilities makes no sense and is failing the community. Given that neither Parks Victoria nor Development Victoria recognize the significance or value of such assets to the community, they should not have control over maritime public assets.

The ‘problem’ with collapsing wharves and piers is not the ocean, nor tides, nor weather. It is the wilful neglect by the responsible authorities charged under the legislation with preserving and maintaining these public infrastructure assets. Parks Victoria and Development Victoria have demonstrated appalling incompetence in relation to assets for which they have legislated responsibility. Parks Victoria is responsible for maintaining forty Victorian piers; Development Victoria controls (and seems intent of demolishing) the heritage-listed Central Pier and Collins Wharf.

The frustrating reality is that Development Victoria is responsible for the neglect and unlawful demolition of parts of Central Pier, and it has been closed since 2019. Litigation continues. Now Development Victoria is engaged in an unfathomable program of repair on Collins Wharf. The extent to which Collins Wharf has been neglected is unclear at this point – the repair program is far from transparent.

Black Rock
Further afield, at Half Moon Bay, Black Rock, a pier collapsed in a storm and many are accusing authorities of ignoring safety warnings for decades. Locals saw the pier collapse as an inevitable consequence of neglect over decades by responsible authorities. Public access to the pier was closed off for about a year until this storm. Wharves at Williamstown Precinct at Seaworks demonstrate a similar pattern of neglect – and are no longer usable, cordoned off from the public. All of this utterly predictable neglect and decay while the responsible bureaucrats, well aware of the dire situation, excuse such inaction and neglect, muttering references to damage caused by vessels, tides and surges, and inadequate funding. The issue of our decrepit neglected piers made news this week on the radio and TV. See https://www.7news.com.au/news/melbourne/concerns-over-melbourne-bayside-suburbs-with-black-rock-and-williamstown-pier-collapse-c-2876878


In stark contrast to this long-standing pattern of maritime infrastructure neglect, are two examples of pier maintenance and restoration which contradict assertions by disinterested bureaucrats that demolition is the only course of action on Central Pier.

Station Pier
Station Pier is managed by Victoria Ports, i.e. NOT by Parks Victoria and not by Development Victoria. See: https://www.vicports.vic.gov.au/cruise-shipping/Pages/station-pier-maintenance.aspx

From May to October 2021, routine maintenance will be undertaken at Station Pier and West Finger Pier. This year, the continuing pile rehabilitation program for both piers will be carried out as well as maintenance on the Station Pier terminal buildings and minor works on West Finger pier. These are part of the ongoing program for the upkeep of the piers.

Welshpool Long Jetty
South Gippsland Shire Council is to be commended for their investment in the outstanding Long Jetty Rehabilitation Project. The project was deemed to be a priority project and was the largest tourism infrastructure project to ever be undertaken in South Gippsland. Grants from Regional Development Victoria, the federal government and South Gippsland Shire Council enabled this impressive maritime heritage project to proceed. The State government owns the jetty and Gippsland Ports is the Local Port Manager. Work was done by the Sydney-based company SMC Marine Pty Ltd which specializes in the rehabilitation of timber wharfs and piers. They have designed and constructed the Anderson Road Jetty, Cowes and the Myer Street Jetty, Lakes Entrance. See:
https://www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au/homepage/176/long_jetty_rehabilitation_project

13. OSSA News
OSSA Project Aurora Australis Tank Test Model
OSSA report that the Grant Application to fund the Aurora Australis Tank Test Model Restoration has been submitted. With optimism, should the application be successful and restoration work on this iconic craft proceeds, then in-kind expertise and assistance will be sought. When the restoration is complete, MMHN is delighted to report that Seaworks have agreed to exhibit this model. A fine effort by all concerned and a wonderful maritime heritage outcome.

OSSA Careers Education
OSSA continues its campaign to raise the profile of maritime industry careers and was invited, together with fifteen other industry guest speakers including Defence, Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service, Police etc., to present at a recent Careers Day Event for Year 10 students. One hour of presentations followed by a Q & A session for fifty students. It was highly successful! Students chose the sessions of interest and OSSA has already been invited back in 2022. OSSA has produced brochures, USBs and provided teachers with AUSMEPA Maritime Environment brochures. OSSA also offered the school experienced seafarer mentors to engage with interested students and teachers in order to better inform students contemplating maritime industry careers both at sea or in a shore-based positions. If you have experience in this vital area of career raising awareness, email: contact@ossa.org.au or see:
https://offshorespecialistships.com/school-program/

OSSA Floater Research
Floaters are, of course, understood to be specialist facilities/vessels which is why there is much interest and excitement at OSSA about excellent research being conducted by Michael Barraclough who is compiling a detailed definitive catalogue with photographs of floaters which have operated (or will operate) in Australian waters. Since the Jabiru Venture in 1986, Michael has listed 22 of these fascinating vessels. Currently there are six operating in Australian waters. In due course, OSSA plans to enrich the research. Anyone interested in, or having knowledge of, these remarkable floater vessels to assist with this significant project, email contact@ossa.org.au

14. The Floater Prelude big in every way
The Prelude is the largest floating object EVER built – 600,000 tonnes fully loaded, displacing the same amount of water as six of the world’s largest aircraft carriers, using five times the amount steel on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and half a kilometre long. Built in Korea at an estimated cost of $12-17 billion for Shell to extract and produce LNG, it is moored at a remote site around 200km off the Kimberley coast and 400 km north of Broome, WA. The backstory of Prelude is fascinating and its future story is yet to unfold. See:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-21/worlds-largest-floating-lng-factory-remains-in-shutdown/12565490

Ben Collins (ABC News, 21 August 2020) reported that Shell’s massive floating LNG factory certainly is big. Prelude has been in shutdown since February [2020] and industry analysts are divided on whether the $12-17 billion facility has a future. It produced limited LNG cargo in its first three years and due to the shutdown, risks becoming the world’s biggest white elephant. Prelude was born out of the ashes of Woodside Petroleum’s attempts to bring the undersea gas in north-west Australia’s Browse Basin to an LNG processing hub on the Kimberley coast at James Price Point. When Woodside pulled the pin on James Price Point in 2013 as forecast costs went stratospheric, Shell was already building Prelude in a Korean shipyard. In November 2017, Prelude was moored over the Browse Basin and production began in December 2018. It was expected to export 3.6 million tonnes of LNG each year, but full capacity has never been reached. The first shipment of LNG left Prelude in June 2019, while another left shortly before the platform was put into shutdown. While Prelude did export LNG at about half its capacity for the second half of 2019, it is now idle, plagued with technical problems, dwindling gas reserves and safety processes.

15. Propulsion on Water – Wind future perhaps  
Wind-assisted container ship design promises big CO2 reductions. Nick Blenkey reports in Shipping News that Bureau Veritas has, in addition to six Oceanwings sails, an LNG-electric podded propulsion system. Approval in principle has been granted to an innovative design for a 2,500 TEU containership, Trade Wings 2500 potentially offering significant reductions in CO2 emissions compared with current conventional designs. On a typical transatlantic route of 4000 nautical miles, the Trade Wings 2500 is projected to save on average 35% CO2-equivalent emissions compared to a conventional design. Out of these 35% savings, 57% come from the Oceanwings sail system, with the optimized LNG propulsion system delivering the remaining 43% savings.


Trade Wings 2500 has been designed jointly by three French companies — VPLP Design, Alwena Shipping and AYRO — and China State Shipbuilding Co.’s design institute, SDARI.

16. Marine Evolutions Response Vessels (MERVS)
Cerberus’ Robotics Club has built a drone prototype that can provide live video footage during any critical incident at sea to accelerate response times. These drones can autonomously patrol incident areas, feeding video images back to those in command of any incident in or over water – man overboard, patrols, intercepts, interrogating trespassing vessels and towing targets for live firing. MERV was developed using lessons from the club’s Critical Response Vehicle Project. A related RAN Flagship Program ‘Autonomous Warrior’ (surface, sub-surface & air) to demonstrate, evaluate and trial emerging Robotics, Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence (RAS-AI) technologies with a range of Technology Readiness Levels. The RAN organises AW events designed to foster collaborative relationships between Defence and industry in a realistic environment enabling co-design at locations across Australia. The last one was 18 December 2020

17. MMHN Museum of the Month
Colin Jack-Hinton Maritime Gallery at the Museum and Art Gallery, Darwin
Since domestic travel is on most peoples’ agendas, consider the recently re-vamped excellent maritime collection gathered over a forty-year period (c.1970-2010) at the Colin Jack-Hinton Maritime Gallery. The gallery houses 23 traditional vessels originating from the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Cocos and Keeling Islands from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory’s Historic Boat and Ethnographic Watercraft Collection and shows how maritime technology has evolved. In this clever two-storey exhibition, each boat imparts a fascinating seafaring story intertwined with human culture from the surrounding seas. The reinterpretation enables visitors to see the great diversity of form and function, from pearl luggers to outrigger canoes – a fascinating non-European maritime legacy shared by South East Asian and Pacific nations. Note that this collection reflects the modern idea of environmental history as the key to the tropics, the sense that art and science inform each other, the serious appreciation of northern indigenous cultures, the understanding of northern Australia as a component of an entire maritime region.

18. Osborne House, Geelong Maritime Museum   – Update
Maritime enthusiasts around Victoria share a concern over the ultimate fate of Osborne House and the adjacent Geelong Maritime Museum. MMHN Board Member Commodore Greg Yorke, recently met with Cr Stephanie Asher, Mayor of the City of Geelong (CoG), and Cr Tim Sullivan, Deputy Mayor. Both are keen to preserve the heritage of Osborne House. They appreciate the Navy’s perspective on the significance of the house and stables and the strong historical links between Navy and Geelong. The CoG has advertised for Expressions of Interest for the use and/or redevelopment of Osborne House and surrounding outbuildings (closes early June). Also attending the meeting was Victorian President of the Naval Association of Australia (NAA), Peter Tanner AM. The NAA (Vic.) is considering how they might participate and assist in the future use and management of the stables (the location of the Geelong Maritime Museum). Consideration is being given to the facility displaying Naval artefacts, educating local youth/schools about maritime heritage and providing a future base for Navy Cadets. Given that the Geelong Maritime Museum has been closed for four years now, this is pleasing news indeed

19. The Amazon Wreck o Project
More good news! Winning a Victorian State Government Living Heritage Grant in November 2020 enabled the Amazon 1863 Project Inc. committee to ‘rescue’, conserve and return the wreck artefacts to the community of Inverloch for public display, telling the Amazon shipwreck story to locals and visitors alike. Most importantly, the grant will further discussions with the Shire regarding the Inverloch Museum Project. Anyone interested in being part of this evolving maritime heritage, email: secretary@amazon1863.org.au

20. Portland Discovery Centre
Keeping regional maritime centres ‘afloat’ is a time-consuming labour of love – a constant process of reinvigoration. Portland’s Maritime Discovery Centre (MDC) recently completed a preservation needs assessment to identify concerns including immediate needs, storage, conservation and policy procedures for the collection – digitizing and access. A request for funding for a scoping study of the building was made to the local Council. If successful, the museum and management of the collection will benefit immeasurably. Outside the premises, work is being undertaken on the relocation and restoration of two historic jetty cranes, and an oak dead-eye that washed up at a local beach is now with Grimwade Conservation.

21. Shipping Australia – A maritime industry peak body
It is of great concern to MMHN that the peak shipping industry body in Australia, Shipping Australia Limited (SAL), which claims to represent ‘the interests of shipowners and shipping agents in all matters of shipping policy, environmentally sustainable practices and safe ship operations’ should express such a narrow and out-dated view of what is in the best interests of Australia. In its recent submission to the Australian Government Productivity Commission’s Supply Chain Study, SAL claim that a ‘strategic fleet’ already exists in the current fleet of internationally-owned ships and seafarers servicing our nation – described by Shipping Australia as diverse, strategically robust and resilient and that its ‘multiple differences’ is a strength! Shipping Australia perceives great benefit in this critical industry sector in having different flagged ships, and different owners, and different managers and different crew and dismisses those putting the well-founded and objective view that to counter the erosion of Australian shipping, government must foster an Australian ‘strategic fleet’.

SAL offers a contrary perspective, noting that several commentators have called for the creation of an Australian-controlled fleet (MMHN, OSSA, MIAL and many others are among them). The Shipping Australia submission makes a series of questionable assertions and significantly, omits any reference to career opportunities for Australians and the need for local experienced people for our Australian maritime industry, i.e. tugs, stevedore, regulators etc. MMHN and OSSA encourages you to read the submission for yourself – and as you do, reflect on Australia’s vulnerability during COVID, when we are so reliant upon maritime trade by vessels owned off-shore and manned by foreign seafarers.
https://www.shippingaustralia.com.au/supply-chain-study-shipping-australia-supports-the-strategic-fleet/

22. Neptune Declaration
To conclude on a more positive note in these perplexing pandemic times:
Support for ameliorating the plight of seafarers during COVID continues to grow with an increasing number of Australian organisations signing the Neptune Declaration. With more than 800 signatories, the Neptune Declaration outlines the main actions that need to be taken to resolve the crew change crisis. See:https://www.globalmaritimeforum.org/content/2020/12/The-Neptune-Declaration-on-Seafarer-Wellbeing-and-Crew-Change.pdf

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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