Ningaloo Reef Fieldwork

Research Projects | Updated 4 years ago

A diver excavating an artefact from a wreck site
Jeremy Green excavating a Pintle
Image copyright of WA Museum

In 2008 the Maritime Archaeology department conducted an expedition to Ningaloo Reef to revisit the sites of the Portuguese despatch vessel Correio da Azia(1816), Croatian barque Stefano (1875), and to inspect other Ningaloo Reef sites including the America China trader Rapid (1815), SS Perth (1887), the abandoned Norwegian Bay whaling station and collapsed Fraser Island lighthouse.

The Correio da Azia was only recently discovered in 2004 by the WA Museum in collaboration with Fugro who flew an airborne magnetometer survey in 2004. The Museum team recovered approximately 900 silver coins concreted in a clump at this time. During the 2008 expedition, underwater mapping work was carried out and an anchor was identified on the site.

The Stefano wrecksite was located by the WA Museum in 1997 and further work was necessary to determine the extent of this large site. The site has historical significance as only two boys, Baccich and Jurich, survived with the assistance of Aboriginal people for almost six months before being rescued. It is a well known story in Croatia and one of Western Australia’s most dramatic shipwreck survivor stories. New elements of the site, including an anchor and windlass, were discovered and contributed to information about the wrecking process and site formation.

See for related publications:
Stefano Skurla. The Stefano Castaways. Translated by Amedeo Sala and edited by John Melville-Jones. Mundaring: Warrigal Press, 2009.

See reports #242, #186, #185, #179