Culture and heritage

Maritime heritage

Signs and trails - Sydney

Dunbar, anchor memorial

The tragic loss of the ship Dunbar at the foot of Sydney's South Head had a lasting effect on the city. The 1857 loss with 121 lives rocked the nation. Contemporary salvage divers visited the wreck which reports suggest, was not rediscovered again until 1907. Two of the ship's anchors and other material was recovered by the steamer Federal in 1910.

One of the bower, or main, anchors is set up as a permanent memorial at "The Gap" in 1930. This anchor underwent conservation treatment in 1992.

A ground-level interpretative plaque has also been established against the cliff fence directly above the wreck site, near Signal Hill Reserve, and visible opposite a residence at 248 Old South Head Road. The plaque was commissioned by the Woollahra History and Heritage Society and unveiled in 1992. It lies adjacent to original cuttings on the cliff-top rock platform, inscribed by visitors to the wreck from 1857. These cuttings should not be visited directly as they lie on the seaward side of the pedestrian safety fence, but can be seen from that barrier.

A marble tablet set high on the walls of St James' Church in Macquarie Street, Sydney, commemorates Captain James Green, Captain of the Dunbar. Access is open to the public.

Cronulla Mall, Cronulla

A series of bronze plaques set into the paving of the Cronulla Shopping Mall commemorate the losses of a number of coastal trading vessels adjacent to the shire. They include coastal steamers such as the Koonya, lost in Bate Bay in 1898. Sutherland Shire Council established the plaques in 1993. The mall fronts The Kingsway at Cronulla.

Queens Wharf, Parramatta

The Heritage Office has assisted in the interpretation of the early riverine history of the Parramatta River as part of the Harris Park Interpretation Master Plan. The Parramatta River saw many maritime "firsts", including the running of the first vessel built in the colony - the Rose Hill Packet in 1789; the first steamer to run in Australia - Surprise of 1831; a horse-powered vessel named Experiment; and the first iron hulled vessel built in Australia - the kit-built Rapid of 1837. A metal photo sign has been erected in Queens Park adjacent to the historic wharf and commemorates the past history of river traffic.

Merchant Seaman's Memorial, Australian National Maritime Museum

Two impressive Admiralty Pattern Long Shanked anchors from the sail training ship Vernon, built 1839, serve as a Sydney-based memorial to Merchant Seamen lost in action aboard ship during World War Two. Perhaps the largest of their type on public display in Australia, the anchors weigh over four and a half tons each. The anchors were recovered from shallow water off Goat Island and set up as a memorial in 1992 with the assistance of BHP.

Tekapo memorial, Maroubra

A memorial to the loss of the Tekapo (May 1889) is located on the paved walkway beside Marine Parade and near the round-about at the north end of Maroubra Beach, Sydney. The memorial was designed by Randwick Council and consists of an anchor and two obelisks within a circle of sandstone blocks. The obelisks are aligned to point to the wreck site and there is a sighting hole in the rear obelisk. The anchor was recovered in 1986 and conserved using electrolytic treatment.

Page last updated: 31 August 2012