Maritime archaeology

From bark canoes to ocean going ships, coastal traders and river boats, waterborne transport has been a major feature in New South Wales. You can now follow in the wake of these vessels and those who depended on them in Maritime heritage, an information and research facility produced by the New South Wales Heritage Branch.

Shipwrecks, historic buildings, lighthouses, port facilities and cemeteries Maritime New South Wales help us to understand important developments in the history of this State. Aboriginal maritime heritage, contact between Aboriginal communities and shipwreck survivors, the expansion of European occupation, the struggle to provide safe passage for goods, passengers and crew have all left features on our landscape.

Technology and cargoes shaped the construction of the ships while commercial and political decisions determined when and where ships, ports, rail or road were the dominant transport network.

The ships that form our maritime heritage were built locally and at ports around the world - from the small riverside slipways on the NSW coast to the mighty shipyards in England, Scotland, Canada and the USA.

The NSW coast and waterways are littered with thousands of shipwrecks and other forms of underwater cultural heritage. Ship's timbers, port infrastructure, iron plating, anchors and cargoes have become fragile records of a heroic maritime history. They are the last remnants of a time when industry, commerce, and families were directly or indirectly reliant on transport by sea.

Maritime heritage will help you to find and discover the wonder of these sites for yourself.

You can also visit an innovative web exhibition featuring the Japanese midget submarine M24.

The interactive web site provides a valuable opportunity for the whole community to learn more about this fascinating part of Australia's wartime history. The site showcases the history and mystery of the 1942 submarine attack on Sydney Harbour with feature interviews, underwater footage and unique 3D animation of the submarine.

Page last updated: 01 September 2012