Culture and heritage

Maritime heritage

About us

The Heritage Branch of the Office of Environment and Heritage is the New South Wales (NSW) entity responsible for administering the historic shipwreck and relics provisions of the NSW Heritage Act 1977 (within State Waters of NSW).

The Director, Heritage Branch, is also the NSW Delegate for the day-to-day administration of the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976 (HSA) that protects shipwreck sites and associated relics in NSW's coastal waters. The Heritage Branch receives Commonwealth funding to implement administrative functions and key priorities of the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Program under the HSA 1976.

The NSW Historic Shipwrecks Program employs maritime archaeologists and leads by example in the research, documentation, management, protection and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage.

The Heritage Branch works closely with divers, clubs, community groups, key Government and Commercial partners, and individuals. People involved in recreational diving and fishing have located over 250 of the State's shipwrecks.

Heritage Branch initiatives include:

The Heritage Branch plays a key advisory and approvals role in development projects that may affect underwater heritage sites (such as marina construction, dredging, offshore telecommunications and pipleine deployment).


Page last updated: 24 October 2012