Culture and heritage

Maritime heritage

Research guides

Researching maritime heritage

Maritime Heritage offers many opportunities for research. From coastal waters to inland rivers (InlandRiverHeritage.pdf, 47KB), shipwrecks, wharves, and many other features provide clues to events that have long passed. Even cemeteries and gravestones can tell a tale or two.

Use the files below to explore this heritage. You will find

  • guides to doing shipwreck research
  • information about Aboriginal maritime heritage, and
  • ways to identify different types of ships and anchors and marine engines.

Historical societies can also be of great assistance.

Share your research

Completed some research or found an article on Maritime Heritage that others may find useful? Send it to Maritime Heritage Online and, if we agree and there are no copyright issues, we will add it to this reference list.

Associated documents and files

Listed below are all the related documents and files for the Research Guides section of the website. Click on any hyperlink to download or view the associated files or web pages.

Historical Societies in New South Wales
Historical Societies can be a great source of information about maritime heritage in local areas.

Aboriginal maritime heritage

Information about Aboriginal Maritime Heritage and contact with shipwreck survivors.

Diversity in Aboriginal maritme heritage
Traditional watercraft used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aborigines and shipwreck survivors
Information about Aboriginal contact with shipwreck events and survivors of shipwrecks.


A guide to researching shipwrecks and preparing reports

Shipwreck research - part 1 - Introduction (DoingshipwreckResearchPart1Intro.pdf, 13KB)
An introduction to undertaking shipwreck research.

Shipwreck research  - part 2 - Case study (DoingshipwreckResearchPart2.pdf, 32KB)
Provides a detailed case study guide to researching a shipwreck.

Shipwrecks - what they tell us (ShipwrecksWhatTheyTellUs.pdf, 69KB)
An introduction to the potential of shipwrecks as sources of information.

Queen of Nations
Provides an illustrated summary of maritime archaeological survey of the ship Queen of Nations.

Finding maritime history on gravestones

Find out how gravestones and cemeteries provide valuable information about past events.

A legacy of grave stones and cemeteries
Gravestone at Camperdown to a victim of the Dunbar disaster.

Camperdown Cemetery - the Catherine Adamson disaster

Camperdown Cemetery - the Dunbar disaster

Green Cape cemetery - the Ly-ee-Moon disaster, 1870
Cemetery consisting wholly of the graves of bodies recovered from the wreck of the steamer Ly-ee-Moon in 1870. Prominent among the rolling green hills at Green Cape, south of Eden on the New South Wales south coast, are the tombstones erected to the 71 persons lost in the Ly-ee-moon disaster of 1886.

Walter Hood monument
Grave and memorial for the bodies of those recovered from the wreck of the clipper Walter Hood, 1870.

Inland rivers - shipwrecks and other nautical heritage

An overview of the potential of shipwrecks and other nautical heritage in NSW inland waterways.

Inland river heritage (InlandRiverHeritage.pdf, 47KB)
In overview of the research potential of nautical heritage in NSW inland rivers.


Guides to maritime technology

Anchored in Time - Ships' anchors are one of the most recognised symbols of maritime activity.

Marine engines and boilers
by John Riley 1998 (c) NSW Heritage Office - Models of engines and boilers by John Riley.

Ship type
About 2000 vessels have been lost along the News South Wales coast and inland rivers.

War along the NSW coast 

Resources for researching the impact of war on the maritime herirage of NSW

NSW defence history
From the start of European settlement Sydney Harbour has needed to be defended from potential enemy attack.

War casualties and the Merchant Navy
On the morning of 9 September 1939, six days after World War II had been declared, two young boys reported seeing a submarine surfaced off Terrigal, a small holiday town on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Page last updated: 31 August 2012