A travelling exhibition has docked at the St Helens History Room to tell a tale of Australia’s shipwrecks.
Australia’s coast is the final resting place of more than 11,000 shipwrecks.
Three wrecks from Tasmania – Sydney Cove, Cataraqui, and Lake Illawarra - were among 14 wrecks from throughout the country whose stories were chosen feature in the nationally touring panel exhibition Submerged – Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks.
Australian National Maritime Museum director Kevin Sumption said as an island nation, shipwrecks were a very important part of Australia’s “rich maritime heritage”.
“The Australian National Maritime Museum is delighted to be partnering with the Australian Maritime Museums Council to unlock these fascinating stories and remember everyone who lost their lives on our coast,” he said.
Sydney Cove was a British Indian merchant ship which ran aground on Preservation Island in 1797.
The accounts of survivors, and information gained during the salvage and rescue attempts, resulted in the exploration and mapping of Australia’s southern coast by Matthew Flinders and George Bass.
Cataraqui was a British barque which was cast onto rocks at Fitzmaurice Bay, King Island in 1845.
It was the worst civil maritime disaster of an Australia-bound vessel, where about 400 people died.
The most recent shipwreck in the exhibition was the Lake Illawarra.
The ship was a handysize bulk carrier in the service of the Australian National Line shipping company.
It was well-known for causing the collapse of the Tasman Bridge in Hobart when it collided with a pylon in January 1975, killing seven crew members and five motorists.
Other shipwrecks featured in the exhibition included trawlers, steamers, schooners, whalers, and a submarine.
Stories of 68 shipwrecks were nominated by maritime museums across Australia, with the 14 most compelling selected to feature.