A supplied image obtained Friday, Jan.27, 2017 of Australian National Maritime Museum maritime archaeologist Dr James Hunter photogrammetrically recording an anchor on one of the shipwreck sites discovered at Kenn Reefs, off the Queensland coast, in January 2017.
A supplied image obtained Friday, Jan.27, 2017 of Australian National Maritime Museum maritime archaeologist Dr James Hunter photogrammetrically recording an anchor on one of the shipwreck sites discovered at Kenn Reefs, off the Queensland coast, in January 2017. JULIA SUMERLING

Cannons among four 19th century wrecks found off CQ coast

IT will take months of careful examination to identify four shipwrecks found off the Central Queensland coast, experts say.

The Australian Associated Press is reporting the four 19th-century shipwrecks were discovered by archaeologists from the Australian National Maritime Museum at Kenn Reef, about 600km north east of Rockhampton.

More than a dozen iron anchors, several copper-alloy fasteners and at least six cannons were found at depths up to 10m, the AAP report says.

 

A supplied image obtained Friday, Jan.27, 2017 of a cluster of mid-nineteenth century anchors found at one of the shipwreck sites discovered at Kenn Reef, off central Queensland, in January 2017.
A supplied image obtained Friday, Jan.27, 2017 of a cluster of mid-nineteenth century anchors found at one of the shipwreck sites discovered at Kenn Reef, off central Queensland, in January 2017. JULIA SUMERLING

Dr James Hunter told AAP it was an amazing feeling to set eyes on what remained of the ships more than 150 years after they went down, although identifying them would be no easy feat.

"This will take months of careful examination of the archaeological discoveries against historical records, including ship's logs and accounts of shipwrecks in newspapers from the period," he told AAP.

Most of the reef's wrecks are trading vessels that were travelling from places such as India and Indonesia.

 

Kenn Reefs, off the Central Queensland coast.
Kenn Reefs, off the Central Queensland coast. Adam Wratten

The team of eight archaeologists departed Bundaberg on January 19 in search of eight ships known to have been wrecked in the area, which was a hazardous stretch for ships in the 19th century.

In particular, they had been looking for the wrecks of the brig Bona Vista, lost in 1828, and the barque Jenny Lind, which was lost in 1850.

 

A supplied image obtained Friday, Jan.27, 2017 of John Mullen (left) watching maritime archaeologist and Silentworld Foundation Director Paul Hundley piloting a drone to obtain aerial imagery of historic shipwreck material exposed on the reef top at Kenn Reef, off Central Queensland, in January 2017.
A supplied image obtained Friday, Jan.27, 2017 of John Mullen (left) watching maritime archaeologist and Silentworld Foundation Director Paul Hundley piloting a drone to obtain aerial imagery of historic shipwreck material exposed on the reef top at Kenn Reef, off Central Queensland, in January 2017. JULIA SUMERLING

The team is the same dive crew that, in 2009, found the government schooner Mermaid wrecked in 1829 off the coast of Cairns.



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