Wrecks of three 19th-century trading ships found off coast Australia

Three shipwrecks were discovered off shore of north-eastern Australia, at Kenn Reefs in the Coral Sea. The wrecks are believed to be at least 150 years old.

Anchor of a wreck at Kenn Reefs (by Julia Sumerling)

Researchers of the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Silentworld Foundation explored the seabed of the reefs that were considered notorious among 19th century sailors. Previous research, undertaken by the Queensland Museum in 1987 found nine other wrecks in the same area. Most of the shipwrecks found along the reef are from 19th century trading vessels on their way north to Jakarta, India and as far away as England. The wrecks were discovered using magnetometry, detecting the magnetic field of large metallic objects underwater, such as cannons or anchors.

Wreck at Kenn Reefs (by Julia Sumerling)

Among the goals of the research was an attempt to find a brig vessel called Bona Vista. It run into the reed in 1828 while travelling from Sydney to Mauritius. Its crew had to wait weeks before being rescued by a passing vessel. The attempt was however unsuccessful. Data retrieved from the expedition is expected to provide more insight into Australia’s pre-Federation trade with other colonies.

Explorers with an anchor (by Julia Sumerling)

(after ABC, Julia Sumerling & Silentworld Foundation)

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