Some of Victoria's most iconic and historically significant shipwrecks will receive another layer of protection under a new 12-month trial.

Heritage Victoria is teaming up with coastal community groups to safeguard the state’s fragile and diverse maritime heritage in the Queenscliff, Werribee and Inverloch areas.

The Community Shipwreck Monitoring Trial will protect the sites from damage caused by human interference through regular patrols by members of the local Volunteer Coastguard (VCG) and Surf Life Saving Clubs (SLSC) conduct regular patrols from Queenscliff, Werribee and Inverloch. 

The program is part of Heritage Victoria’s Maritime Heritage at Risk Program with a broader approach to identify and prioritise the State’s most significant shipwrecks; providing an assessment of their current and future risk and implementing a site management program to better safeguard them. 

“Shipwrecks are fascinating reminders of Victorian history and there is much we can learn from them, but we are at risk of losing these fragile archaeological sites if we don’t take action to protect them from further damage.," Executive Director Heritage Victoria, Steven Avery, said.

“The Community Shipwreck Monitoring Trial is empowering the community to be good custodians of our irreplaceable historic treasures like shipwrecks that enrich our pristine coastline."

Community involvement is paramount in ensuring the ongoing protection of these precious shipwrecks, which provide valuable social and economic benefits to coastal townships. 

Participants from Queenscliff VCG, Werribee VCG and Inverloch SLSC will patrol the sites to monitor and report on damaging human interference to shipwrecks, enabling Heritage Victoria to respond swiftly to reports of behaviour that compromises the safety of these fragile archaeological treasures. 

Patrols will be on the look-out for any damaging activities including anchoring, fishing and diving in Protected Zones which can cause irreversible damage to the most sensitive wrecks. 

“Safeguarding Victoria’s maritime heritage is a shared responsibility and Heritage Victoria will work closely with the community through volunteer Coastguard and Surf Life Saving Clubs to plan for the ongoing protection and survival of historic shipwrecks," Mr Avery said.”

Shipwreck conservation projects like these provide unique opportunities to discover more about Victoria’s maritime heritage, highlighting the need to plan for future management of these significant wrecks so that future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from them. 

A recent joint archaeological venture between Heritage Victoria and Flinders University saw students undertake an exploration project to better understand the remains of the 154-year-old Amazon shipwreck which can still be seen at low tide at Inverloch surf beach.

Amazon Shipwreck 3

Page last updated: 27/07/20