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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 April 2005

Funding helps explore Victoria's submerged history


Victoria's shipwreck heritage will be brought to life with funding of $62,746 from the Australian Government's Historic Shipwreck's Programme, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.

Funding will assist Heritage Victoria conserve and interpret some of the state's shipwrecks and also develop a reference collection of shipwreck artefacts.

"Victoria has a wealth of submerged history, with every shipwreck a watery time capsule with a story waiting to be told," Senator Campbell said.

"This funding will help make this part of our maritime heritage more accessible through interpretation projects, including a reference collection of historic shipwrecks bottles.

"Bottles from historic shipwrecks, particularly those that were once part of cargoes destined for Melbourne, reveal a great deal about everyday life in the state's early history. In addition these glass and stoneware bottles are an important comparison tool as they help archaeologists date similar remains from land-based sites.

"Funding will also assist ongoing shipwrecks conservation and interpretation projects, including conserving and managing the historic J-Class Submarine Wrecks that lie off the coast of Port Phillip.

"The J-Class subs were built for the Royal Navy and saw action during World War One. They were given to the Royal Australian Navy as a gift to Australia in 1919 but were scuttled by the navy following Defence budget cutbacks in the mid 1920s.

"Site surveys and corrosion testing will now be conducted on the submarines to reveal more about their history," Senator Campbell said.

A total of $391,000 will support 40 shipwreck related projects around Australia through Australia's Historic Shipwrecks Programme.

Under this programme, the Australian Government funds its state and territory partners to help protect, preserve, research and provide information on some of the nation's 6500 shipwrecks and related materials.

Further information about Australia's Historic Shipwrecks Programme can be found at www.deh.gov.au/heritage/shipwrecks/index.html.

Media Contact:
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia