Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Shipwrecks' discovery warrants awards


Bega District News
September 09, 2005

The chair of the Heritage Council of NSW, Michael
Collins (right), presented awards to divers David Prior,
Keith Appleby and Samir Alhafithy at Tathra Wharf

THE discovery of three historic shipwrecks off the NSW south coast in the past few years has resulted in awards for the divers involved.

David Prior, Keith Appleby and Samir Alhafith (representing The Sydney Project) were presented with awards acknowledging their contribution towards maritime heritage during a meeting of the Heritage Council of NSW at Tathra Wharf yesterday (Thursday.

"We are celebrating the achievements of those divers in mapping, conserving and promoting these new shipwreck sites," the chair of the Heritage Council of NSW, Michael Collins, said.

"We also acknowledge the support provided by individual fishermen at Bermagui whose knowledge of the area has been invaluable in aiding the divers pinpoint where the wrecks are located on the sea bed," Mr Collins said.

"South Coast shipping is rich in history and adventure and the discovery of these sites is testimony to the extent and variety of our underwater heritage in these areas.
"These wrecks are remote in time but not distance.

"Their discovery provide us with a snapshot of the past, a glimpse into long gone era of shipping and of the drama that unfolded as ships sank beneath the waves, to start a new life as rare, fragile and evocative archaeological wreck sites.

"Some recent discoveries include the 'Bega', an iron twin screw steamship lost between Tathra and Bermagui in 1908, the World War Two 'Liberty' ship 'William Dawes', torpedoed off Tathra in 1942 and the 'Cumberland' which sank in August 1917 after striking a German minefield near Gabo Island.

"The South Coast has an astonishing array of historic shipwreck sites, many of which are accessible to recreational divers while land-bound enthusiasts can access these amazing stories through coastal wreck walking trails.

"Information about these wrecks can also be found on the Heritage Office's award winning 'Maritime Heritage Online' website, which offers a range of interactive maps, a searchable database, still images, video clips, archaeological survey reports and activity guides," said Mr Collins.

The Heritage Council's visit is focusing on the district's maritime and Aboriginal heritage as well as tours to the historic property "Oaklands" at Pambula and the Old Bega Hospital.

Last night the Heritage Council hosted a reception at St John's Anglican Church.

A highlight of the visit will be today (Friday) when members of the Heritage Council take a cultural and educational tour of Biamanga (Mumbulla Mountain) followed by a lunch with members of the local Aboriginal community.


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