Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Vandals have damaged the wreck of a Japanese midget submarine in Sydney Harbour and made off with protected relics. The submarine, known as the M24, is a key piece of Australian World War II history and was one of three midget submarines that entered Sydney Harbour on May 31, 1942. It's believed divers entered the protected zone around the shipwreck and broke off and removed propeller blades and relics. The damage was noticed during an archaeological inspection last September, the federal Environment Department said. One of the three submarines was blown up by its occupants after getting tangled in the boom net across the harbour. The M24 followed and fired torpedoes at the cruiser USS Chicago but instead hit the HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 naval personnel. It then disappeared until 2006, when scuba divers discovered its wreck off a Sydney beach. Anyone found guilty of damaging or disturbance a protected wreck or removing relics faces a $10,000 fine or five years jail. The shipwreck site is also protected under NSW heritage laws, with a breach incurring a fine of up to $1.1 million. Environment officers have appealed for anyone with information to contact the department on  1800 110 395  or via email at compliance@environment.gov.au .”
(Source: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/vandals-damage-japanese-midget-sub-wreck-20130314-2g2hf.html

HMAS Vampire and HMS Hermes

71 YEARS AGO, on the 9th of April 1942, calamity struck HMAS Vampire and HMS Hermes off the coast of Sri Lanka in the form of 30 + Japanese bombers. After the raid was over, 315 British and Australian sailors were dead and wreckage littered the sea. HMS Hermes lying on its side at 52m is now the graveyard for most of these courageous men. The Vampire is yet to be confirmed as found, although a wreck recently discovered a few kilometres away may solve the mystery of its whereabouts.


According to the web page found at http://www.borderwatch.com.au/story/1287444/students-dive-into-maritime-history/?cs=1266 , “A team of student divers from Flinders University yesterday descended into the ocean at Carpenter Rocks to explore the wreck of a ship that ran ashore in 1948. Post-graduate students enrolled in the university’s maritime archaeology program began mapping the wreck of The Hawthorn and will continue research throughout the next two weeks. St Martins Lutheran College student Carl von Stanke was instrumental in attracting the university to the relatively unknown site. The 15-year-old developed a passion for exploring and documenting shipwrecks at a young age and even has his own maritime museum set up at home. About two years ago, Carl attended a Flinders University archeological field school session where students explored a shipwreck on the beach near Port MacDonnell. Since then, he has developed a relationship with representatives in the marine archaeology department at the university and suggested The Hawthorn as their next dive. “I thought it would be a good dive for them and I might get to help out,” he said. As a reward for his ongoing help, Carl was invited to spend a week participating in the dive. St Martins Lutheran College principal Dianne Eckermann has granted Carl a week off school to complete work with the divers. “Diving on shipwrecks has been an absolute passion of Carl’s for a long time,” she said. “He is very knowledgeable and has done a lot of research into local shipwrecks - this is a great learning opportunity for him.” Maritime archaeology program senior lecturer Dr Jennifer McKinnon said the field school was an essential part of the course for many reasons. “The students will practice diving skills and using various equipment, including diving gear, cameras and geophysical devices,” she said. “They will also be practically trained on how to map and document shipwrecks.” The Hawthorn was built in 1875 in Tasmania and was purchased by the Von Stanke family - Carl’s forefathers - in the mid-1940s when Carpenter Rocks became its home. Soon after its arrival, the ship pulled its anchor and washed ashore, which left it completely wrecked on the bottom of the ocean. “First we map the area and document the approximate size of the ship and mark the area,” Ms McKinnon said. “We will remove all the sand that lies on top of the wreck so we can take timber samples and match the results with information in historical documents. “We won’t be removing any artefacts and we will fill the wreck with sand when we have finished to ensure the site is left the way it was when we got there.” Carl is looking forward to participating in the dive next week. “I snorkel over The Hawthorn all the time and I’ve already mapped it out,” he said. “It’s all still pretty structural, it’s quite interesting. “I would like to complete the course these students are doing and become a marine archaeologist one day.” Findings will be compiled into a report and sent to the Commonwealth Shipwrecks Program, which issued the university with a permit to complete the dive.”


If so, Pete Taylor has published a titled "Shipwrecks: A Practical Guide to Research and Discovery". This book contains information on remote sensing, historical research, running projects, ship construction in timber, iron and steel, steam engines and ships’ rigging and equipment. Books are $40.00 plus $12.00 postage. Copies can be ordered directly from Pete at jpjl@ozemail.com.au .


According to the web page found at http://www.tajmahalsunkentreasure.com/ , “Sir Arthur C. Clarke . . . was an avid SCUBA diver and . . . in the early 1960s he was a part of one of the most unique sunken treasure discoveries in history – The Treasure of the Great Reef. In 1962, Clarke was stricken with polio and spent the rest of his life living with the debilitating effects of post-polio syndrome. In 1963 he joined diving partner Mike Wilson as he and a small team of divers recovered thousands of silver rupees Wilson and two American consulate boys, Bob Kriegel and Mark Smith, had discovered on Great Basses Reef off the southern tip of Sri Lanka.  Most of the coins were still in the shape of the bags that had once carried them; clumps weighing 26 to 30 pounds, with nearly 1,000 coins in each.” Visit http://www.tajmahalsunkentreasure.com/discovery.html to learn how the Taj Mahal Treasure was discovered and recovered.