Treasures from the Deep

Join us on a journey through some of the research and fieldwork conducted by the staff of the Department of Maritime Archaeology and Department of Conservation at the WA Maritime Museum.

  • Dive with us at these four famous wrecksites and read our records of expeditions conducted in 2001. They all share a global maritime archaeological heritage. Locating the wrecks of the early explorers Rose and Louis de Freycinet (1820) and William Dampier  (1701) has been important to Australia for these explorers charted much of its coastline and reported on the land and its peoples. To inspect the wrecks and to report on their remains paved the way for a greater understanding, as well as allowing the development of a number of exhibitions and works on the explorers and their ships.
  • The James Matthews, ostensibly a mundane trading brig lost near Fremantle in the mid 19th Century, was later found to have been a former slave ship. It was an amazing discovery, for just over 24 metres long, it had earlier been captured with an astonishing 433 African slaves. The 2001 report details remedial work at the site.
  • The Japanese attack on the sleepy coastal pearling town of Broome in 1942 shocked the world. Over half a century later, maritime archaeologists piece together the nightmare that was 'Australia's Pearl Harbour.
  • In 2001, the Western Australian Maritime Museum set out to locate, survey and document these sites and piece together the links binding these seemingly disparate elements as part of the Australian and the world's maritime heritage.