Plenty to report – perhaps more than we generally see reported on maritime matters in the mainstream media in print and radio. Eg. Station Pier, Docklands, Seafarers Rest Park, RAN …MMHN advocacy is having an impact!


1. Economic uplift delivered by preserving heritage
2. Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV)
3. Melbourne-Osaka Yacht Race
4. Amazon Wreck news
5. Northern Hemisphere Maritime
6. Bass Strait Oil Rigs
7. Indian Maritime
8. Join the RAN?
9. RAN Sea Power Centre
10. To Bay or not a Bay or “A rose by any other name etc” with apologies to Shakespeare
11. Antarctic Heritage
12. Southbank Maritime Precinct
13. Lost Containers
14. Flotsam
15. “Friendly Floatees” – Inadvertent research
16. HMAS Castlemaine
17. HMAS Melbourne
18. Shipping Control Tower, Victoria Harbour Docklands
19. HMAS Goorangai – A poignant Williamstown maritime story
20. Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
21. Australian Naval Podcast Series
22. Cloud under the Sea
23. Centenary Visit of the British Special Service Squadron to Melbourne
24. Oh the temptation! The next adventure awaits!

1. Economic uplift delivered by preserving heritage

As a maritime heritage advocacy network, we expend considerable energy explaining to public and private policy and decision makers that maritime heritage assets have immense value – not only culturally and socially but also – wait for it – ECONOMICALLY, if retained and preserved. We can cite international data supporting this reality and happily, we can now cite Australian data.

In 2023 the Heritage Council of Victoria commissioned a report to synthesise the existing research on the value of heritage to the community. This is invaluable. Australian research data on the social, economic, and environmental value of heritage to Australian communities is now publicly available. Relevant international data is also included as well as a summary of gaps in the available research.

Access via:

Value has always been the reason underlying heritage conservationIt is self evident that no society makes an effort to conserve what it does not value.
– Quote from heritage researchers Mason and de la Torre, 2002,
‘Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage’

MMHN and all other heritage advocacy groups make the ‘value case’ over and over and over again. In Australia regrettably, the political approach to heritage preservation is under-whelming. The relevant legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 has not been comprehensively reviewed for 15 years and the focus of current reform is limited to the environment. (More of this in a later update.)


2. Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV)

MMHN is always heartened to see a maritime image acknowledging the significance of maritime heritage to Victoria, on the logo of the most prestigious heritage organisation, Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV).

RHSV alerts stakeholders to an important history conference in Lilydale, on June 29, ‘The Value of Local History – into the Future’.  You will enjoy presentations by an impressive list of historians.

See: AEHS Conference Program


3. Melbourne-Osaka Yacht Race

The commemorative plaque (see below), nestled in the shrubbery at the Port of Melbourne Education Centre, is a reminder of the long-standing connection between Melbourne and Osaka in global trade links and that the Melbourne-Osaka two-hander Yacht Race 2025 looms.

Image: Jackie Watts


4. Amazon Wreck news

Karyn Beja, shares this exciting news:

Yesterday, on a beautiful bright clear sunny morning, with a 0.2m low tide and a snorkel/wade around the freshly revealed parts of wreckage in the ocean, we were rewarded with, and saw the Amazon’s anchor. The water tank, ballast and a few ribs were clearly visible, semi-submerged. It is 5 years since we saw any of this wreckage and further sand movement may reveal more over winter.”

For a more extensive account of the wreck, see the 2018 report by Maddy McAllister, Wendy van Duivenvoorde, Peter Harvey & John Naumann.

See: Inverloch History – The Amazon Shipwreck

Image: Inverloch Historical Society website


5. Northern Hemisphere Maritime

Although we are deep in the south, maritime stakeholders invariably connect the oceans of the world.

Arctic Ocean

Currently the ice-bound Bering Strait impedes maritime trade but for how much longer? With global warming, the Northern Sea Route passage may become the shortest maritime link between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. Compared to the Suez Canal route, the distance between China and the major ports of Northern Europe is about 40% shorter and as much as 60% shorter compared to the route around the African Cape Horn. Compare this with 21,000 km to travel from Shanghai to Hamburg or take a 15,000 km shortcut through the Arctic. Economic benefit in time, fuel (and emissions) is great and the Northern Sea Route is not threatened by piracy. Climate change is more pronounced in the Arctic regions where ice cover has decreased substantially in recent decades. The Northeast Passage and the North American Northwest Passage were simultaneously ice-free for the first time on August 29, 2008. Since then, ice cover has steadily receded year by year. According to some studies, the Northeast Passage might be completely ice-free during the summer months and as early as the 2050s.

Is the icebreaker about to become obsolete?
See: Cargo Partner – Northern Sea Route Shortcut

Great Lakes – vast inland seas

These Lakes contain vast volumes of fresh water and like all oceans, seafarers have to contend with strong currents, distant horizons, great depths, rolling waves, and strong winds. Collectively, they account for 21% of the surface freshwater on Earth and provide drinking water to circa 28 million people. Freshwater lakes include Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario, and Erie – located in east-central North America, near the Canada-United States border. Lake Michigan is part of the USA whereas Lakes Huron, Superior, Ontario and Erie stretch across the border, with shorelines in both countries.

The Lakes enable critical corridors for marine trade on the North American continent and importantly, the west to east route from Lake Superior to the St. Lawrence Seaway dropping approximately 180 metres in elevation, flowing from the westernmost point in Duluth, Minnesota, to the Atlantic Ocean.

Trade began between Indigenous communities and European settlers around the early 17th century. The French, English and Dutch settlers competed for trade opportunities which led to major ports being established along the waterways, eg Montreal, Toronto, and Chicago.

During the War of 1812 several major naval battles were fought on the Great Lakes as both the US and British North America tried to exert control over the region.

In essence, the Lakes are of immense economic importance, a marine highway enabling inland commodities fast cargo transportation between the Atlantic and Europe. The numbers are huge. The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence region has a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over CDN$6 trillion which, if it were a nation, would make it the third largest economy in the world.

The Great Lakes/St Lawrence navigation system connects more than 110 commercial ports. Although most of the waterway is navigable, a series of rivers, locks and canals constructed in the 19th century enabled vessels to safely bypass river rapids. An elaborate system of 8 locks is required to lift or lower ships 100 metres from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, to bypass Niagara Falls. Such measures limit the size and type of cargo vessels and the most common type used is the American Great Lake Freighter, commonly referred to as the ‘Laker’. Ocean-going vessels visiting the Great Lakes are referred to as ‘Salties’ which sometimes require adjustment of cargo loads to compensate for their deeper draft. The shipping season on the Great Lakes is, of course, limited by the harsh winters.

See: Clear Seas – Marine Shipping in the Great Lakes

Images: Clear Seas website


6. Bass Strait Oil Rigs

In 1965 an Esso/BHP Billiton joint venture drilled Australia’s first offshore well and discovered the Barracouta gas field in Bass Strait. Two years later Kingfish was discovered, the first offshore oil field, which to this day remains the largest oil field ever discovered in Australia. Massive infrastructure costing billions of dollars has been built to develop, produce and process the crude oil and gas, which is used to power industry, fuel vehicles, heat homes and manufacture products in Australia and overseas. There are now 23 offshore platforms and installations in Bass Strait, including the new Marlin B platform and Kipper subsea wells, which feed a network of 600km of underwater pipelines and keep the oil and gas flowing, 24 hours a day.

See: Exxon Mobil – Energy Resources Bass Strait

Journalist Bianca Hall (The Age 15/3/24) reported “Audacious bid to dump old oil rigs on Bass Strait sea floor”. Quite a task. This infrastructure is not floating but firmly attached and experts grapple with the daunting and very costly task of dismantling, removing and re-using “millions of tonnes of industrial detritus”.

See: The Age – Audacious bid to dump old oil rigs on Bass Strait sea floor

FoE reveals Esso, owned by Woodside and ExxonMobil, wants to remove the topsides of the platforms before cutting the massive pylons or jackets, and dumping them into the ocean. The 8 facilities are among 13 that need to be decommissioned in the coming year. The facilities are located in water depths ranging from 38 metres (Dolphin platform) to 402 metres (Blackback subsea facility). Their distance from the coast ranges from 12 kilometres (Seahorse subsea facility) to 87 kilometres (Blackback subsea facility). Ten platforms, 3 subsea facilities, 16 pipelines and approximately half of all wells drilled are no longer producing oil and gas. A further 3 platforms are expected to progressively stop producing oil and gas during the next few years. In parallel with Esso’s investigations into re-using some of the offshore facilities for other purposes, Esso’s decommissioning team is planning for the eventual decommissioning of all assets in Bass Strait. Decommissioning Plans are under discussion.

See: Exxon Mobil – Decommissioning in Bass Strait

Check this ‘positive’ approach to the problem from CSIRO:


7. Indian Maritime

Given the proximity and the billion plus population, perhaps it’s of interest to glance at the Indian Navy website.

See: and

Noted in The Age (15/3 reporting from Reuters) “Indian rescue of hijacked vessel” and “India recently began to flex its naval power in international waters” and Reuters – Indian Navy thwarts Somali pirates.

The Indian Naval slogan is, ‘INDIAN NAVY – COMBAT READY, CREDIBLE AND COHESIVE.’ The Indian Navy has 67,252 active personnel and 75,000 reserve personnel. According to the Indian Defence Ministry, the Navy’s present force level comprises a fleet of 150 vessels and submarines and 300 aircraft. As of November 2023, the Indian Navy has 67 vessels of various types under construction including destroyers, frigates, corvettes, conventional-powered and nuclear-powered submarines and various other ships. It plans to build up to a total of 200 vessels and 500 aircraft by 2050.  Over the years, the Indian Navy has taken a conscious decision to encourage other private sector shipyards to enter the specialised field of warship-construction. The response has been encouraging.


8. Join the RAN?

Seafarers really matter! In the April MMHN Update we reported on Navy Cadets traditionally being an excellent way to introduce the thought of a Naval career. The Age (25/4/24) reported that recruitment continues to be a serious problem in our island nation despite “A $50k bonus, cheap uni, extra healthcare: the 4400 Navy jobs no one wants”

See: The Age – Navy Jobs

You may also wish to look at RAN Heritage on the website.


9. RAN Sea Power Centre

Established in the early 1990s the Sea Power Centre is an autonomous research Centre to foster and encourage development of maritime strategic thought by providing intellectual rigour to the public debate on maritime strategy and other maritime issues.

Recent RAN website changes refer its role now includes promoting the study, discussion and awareness of maritime strategy, sea power and Australian naval history. While a more permanent site is being developed you can check:


10. To Bay or not a Bay or “A rose by any other name etc” with apologies to Shakespeare

An ABC report quoting the Parks Victoria 2019 Boating Guide states “although Port Phillip Bay is commonly referred to as ‘the Bay’ or ‘Port Phillip Bay’, Port Phillip is actually not a [single] bay at all, but an ‘embayment’ made up of over 16 bays”. Why? It depends what definition of a bay is used. Professor Kennedy says “there are many ways to define a bay; including how far the tides go, the salinity of the water, evolution of the landscape or as an equivalent word for estuary. Parks Victoria appear to have taken ‘bay’ as another term for an estuary.”

In 1802 that which we know as the Bay was briefly called ‘Port King’, after Philip Gidley King, the then governor of New South Wales who quickly changed it to Port Phillip in 1805. Names appear to be very situational. Ash Skinner, a Wadawurrung man and educator at the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, referenced a non-aquatic earlier period of history. “We knew it as Naarm once known as a hunting ground … it was a good place to hunt kangaroo and possum. The bay itself was like a garden of Eden, through which ran a large river that divided the lands of the Wadawurrung people and their Bunurong neighbours. They’d meet up to trade, celebrate and have ceremonies. The hunting ground only became the bay after Bundjil, the creator spirit, made the waters rise because he believed people were becoming greedy and taking the bountiful hunting ground for granted”. Clearly this body of water has played a significant role in the lives of millions of people dating back tens of thousands of years.

See: ABC News – Port Phillip Bay Melbourne and Parks Vic – Port Phillip Recreational Boating Guide

Image: ABC News


11. Antarctic Heritage

OSSO reports on the progress of the Lauritzen Plaque which is so important to our Antarctic heritageOn the 11th April OSSA members were invited to attend the ‘turning of the sod’ ceremony held at the Mission to Seafarers Victoria (MtSV) celebrating the commencement of work on Seafarers Rest Park, a new 3500m2 park nestled between the MtSV and North Wharf on the Yarra.

Former OSSA Chair and MMHN Board Member Ross Brewer made an “impassioned appeal for more recognition and inclusivity of Melbourne’s maritime heritage in general but specifically along the river and around the Docklands Precinct”.

Testimony to the endeavour and determination of OSSA, in collaboration with the City of Melbourne and the site developers, Riverlee, the Lauritzen Plaque and the Lady Vera propellor (formerly at Enterprize Park) will be installed in Seafarers Rest Park in due course. A reminder the Lauritzen Plaque commemorated the marvellous “Dan” vessels so integral to the success of Australia’s Antarctic endeavours which left and returned to this very spot for so many years.

Image: Riverlee rendition of Seafarers Rest Park


12. Southbank Maritime Precinct

Across the pedestrian bridge from Seafarers Rest Park, Yarra Traders are also excited to see progressMMHN member Tim Bracher observes “the long-promised Seafarers Rest Park is at least now somewhere on the timeline” noting that this will quite rightly and firmly anchor the Yarra River Maritime Heritage which, of course irrefutably exists on both riverbanks. Seafarers’ pedestrian bridge links the two maritime precincts.

The MMHN historical narrative Billabongs to the Bolte Bridge nears completion and will compliment the completed North Bank narrative Birrarung to the Blue Lake.

For further information on MMHN’s Plan for Southbank Maritime Precinct – MMHN Opportunity 6 Southbank Maritime Heritage Precinct


13. Lost Containers

Maritime trade still accounts for 90% of all global trade and in Australia that figure is closer to 99% by volume and shipping containers. Containers triggered a global trade revolution tied to intermodal transportation networks ever more efficiently, expediently transferring cargo in the global supply chains, no matter what the cargo, bridging oceans, road and rail and streamlined port operations. Ultimately, the economies of scale ensures that shipping is, per unit, the cheapest mode of transport available.
See: and

Inevitably some containers, not a lot considering the volume, go missing – either through incompetent handling or stowing, theft, rough seas – and laden ships sinkingA World Shipping Council (WSC) states that up to 1,382 shipping containers are lost at sea annually. The figure is based on 3-year averages calculated over a 12-year period. Some containers stay afloat for some time. Refrigerated containers stay afloat longer due to their buoyant insulation. It is arithmetically plausible that 10,000 containers annually, ie circa 27 containers are lost every day. An estimated 12,000 containers or UFOs (“Unidentified Floating Objects”) are floating around the world’s oceans posing significant risk to smaller ocean-going vessels such as yachts and fishing boats. Sighting partially submerged containers is tricky. See an example of a sighting by a fishing boat off the Gulf of Carpentaria:

Successful internal packing, stowage and securing of containers on board plus accurate reporting on weight takes expertise and is a real technical challenge. Incompetence at any point endangers the ship, its crew, its cargo, stevedores – and, other ships and ultimately the environment. Onboard stacks collapse for whatever reason, though rare, can be catastrophic.

The World Shipping Council in a nine-year research study produced reliable figures for container loss. Between 2008 and 2016, an average of 568 containers were lost per year excluding catastrophic events eg ship sinking, running aground or shipwrecks. All it takes is a storm at sea to send containers overboard. The freighter MSC Zoe, one of the world’s largest container ships, measuring 394 meters in length and with a deadweight capacity of 19,000 standard containers, lost a total of 345 containers in the North Sea in early 2019. The Maersk Essen lost 750 boxes in January 2021 in the Pacific; its sister ship, the Eindhoven, around 260 boxes in February 2021, and the ONE Apus a staggering 1,800 containers in December 2020.

Who bears responsibility and what do the laws say? Essentially it is the shipping company hired to transport the goods who is responsible and must carry appropriate insurance.

However, given this insurance liability is limited, a prudent client also insures against such risk of loss or damage. If a ship, with cargo, is in distress at sea and rescue is required, then the costs of the rescue are split proportionally amongst the goods’ owners and the ship’s owner according to the cost of the goods being transported – even if the goods arrive undamaged.


14. Flotsam

The joy of beach combing around Australia’s vast coastline is known to many of us. Salvage is another matter. It was considered almost an industry along the various notorious shipwreck costs of Bass Strait. Nowadays in the case of wayward cargo, collecting can be problematic. National laws differ. It is not illegal in the Netherlands to take goods that have washed up onshore but sealed containers may not be opened. On German shores, sealed containers may not be opened and the principle “theft by finding’ may apply.

See: Cargo Partner – When containers go overboard


15. “Friendly Floatees”, Inadvertent research

Much was revealed about oceanic currents. In 1992, 29,000 plastic ducks, frogs and turtles “escaped” from a container lost in the Pacific. These floated ashore on beaches across the entire world before finally reaching as far as Europe in 2007. The estimated 27,000 km journey took 15 years. Similarly in 1990, 61,000 sneakers travelled between Alaska and Hawaii.

See: Cargo Partner – When Containers go overboard


16. HMAS Castlemaine

MMHN recommends a fascinating YouTube video:


17. HMAS Melbourne

MMHN is grateful to Bob Hart for RUSIV Defence Update (18/3), reminding those of us of a certain age to recall those instructive publications from the Education Dept. The School Paper was distributed over decades to Grades VII & VIII across Victoria at a period when shipping was very much ‘front of mind’ for the entire community. Not surprising then that the May 1913 issue of The School Paper headlined the important arrival of HMAS Melbourne on 26th March 1913, a vessel of 5400 tons and an impressive principal armament of eight, six-inch guns. In that year, the National Defence Plan for the RAN was based on a 15,000 manforce. It was to be equipped with 8 battle cruisers like New Zealand, 10 protected cruisers like the Melbourne, 18 destroyers like the Yarra, 12 submarines, 3 depot ships, and one repairing ship. At that time a Naval College to train Australian boys as officers was opened at Osborne House, Geelong – 28 cadet midshipmen were studying there at the time but it was expected that they would take up their residence with those commencing the course the following year in the building that was being erected on Jervis Bay, the port of Canberra.

It seems there have been 3 vessels named HMAS Melbourne –

HMAS Melbourne (1912), a Town-class light cruiser launched in 1912, HMAS Melbourne (R21), a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier acquired by the RAN in 1947. HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05), an Adelaide-class guided missile frigate launched in 1989.

The School Paper was distributed monthly to students from 1896, as extra reading material in addition to the Victorian Reader. During the 1960s the form of The School Paper changed into 3 grades of readers: Meteor, Comet and Orbit. See:

18. Shipping Control Tower, Victoria Harbour Docklands

MMHN, having watched the destruction of Central Pier, was aghast at the evident degradation of yet another major maritime infrastructure asset in Docklands, the Shipping Control Tower. We commenced advocating for urgent remedial action. The Tower sits on the tip of North Wharf at the entrance to heritage-listed Victoria Harbour. Owned by Development Victoria, the responsible state authority, the Shipping Control Tower had been left to slowly degenerate for decades. Its inherent value and historical context to the entire story of the Port of Melbourne is irrefutable. What does it tell us about Melbourne and our society? A lot.

The Shipping Control Tower embodied the optimism towards and value of a tremendous ever-expanding Victoria Port (aka Victoria Harbour) to the State. Draining the swamp, excavating Victoria Harbour, re-routing of the river, innovative linear wharf design, multiple piers, goods sheds and dry-docks etc. From the early 1850s, there was a relentless drive to optimise the capacity and capability of the Port – an extraordinarily busy period in Melbourne’s development, fuelled by the recent discovery of gold in Victoria. The Melbourne Chamber of Commerce was formed in this period, and immediately made the connection between port capacity, efficient port operations and profit. It commenced campaigning for the establishment of a Harbour Trust to take responsibility for the development of maritime infrastructure and port operations. They did a very good job. This work enabled exponential growth in maritime trade. Melbourne and Victoria prospered. With port expansion came greater operational complexity.

In 1934 a timber octagonal watch tower was erected on North Wharf and replaced in the 1960s by the technologically cutting-edge Shipping Control Tower we see today. It controlled all shipping operations in the harbour, the river, the estuary and Port Philip Bay. Architect C.J Smith used reinforced concrete with a lift and stairs, topped by two decks – one for observation duties containing radar and communication equipment, the other being for staff amenities to support its 24-hour a day operation. This was a period in Melbourne where shipping was front-of-mind for many in the community. The Tower was the source of both social and trade information. An automated telephone service provided shipping information to the public, which was immensely popular with 116,995 calls taken in the first year.

Given irrefutable heritage significance of the Shipping Control Tower source, why did Places Victoria (now Development Victoria) deliberately exclude this from the Brief, commissioning Lovell Chen to write a detailed Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for Victoria Harbour in 2012? The impact of this exclusion was dire. In effect it stymied any heritage recognition and preservation for the Shipping Control Tower. However, despite it being outside the Conservation Management Plan Brief, unwilling to ignore its heritage significance, Lovell Chen quite rightly inserted the Shipping Control Tower as best they could – describing it as of ‘contributary significance’ to Victoria Harbour. Indeed, an astounding understatement! It is central to the entire heritage story of Victoria Harbour.

See: Victoria_Harbour_Conservation_Management_Plan_CMP.pdf

Now the good news. Despite this focus, DV has recently responded to community and MMHN advocacy and has now committed to a repair/remediation program for the Shipping Control Tower. The successful tender for the works will be announced at the end of April and works will be completed by September 2024. Quoting DV “The remediation program includes but is not limited to:

  • Concrete repair
  • Re-render of entire tower
  • New windows and external doors
  • Handrail repair and painting
  • New roof membrane
  • Clean and sanitise internal areas

Although the long-term re-purposing of the Shipping Control Tower remains unclear, the DV works appear to be merely limited to halting further degradation. MMHN is pleased with such progress albeit way too late.

Image: Martin Dixon Board Member at the recent MMHN on-site presentation during Australian Heritage Month


19. HMAS Goorangai – A poignant Williamstown maritime story

MMHN thanks Andrew Campbell (Castlemaine Ship Museum) for his research on the HMAS Goorangai:

With the approaching ANZAC Day commemorations, we are reminded that the ships’ company of the HMAS Goorangai operating out of Williamstown paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. The 24 sailors not only lost their lives but the families left behind had their lives changed forever. The grief for the 13 widows and children is unimaginable together with the grief of friends and wider family of the sailors. Sadly, just six sailors were laid to rest in a terrestrial grave; one un-named sailor lies in a grave at Williamstown without candidate families informed, buried within 24 hours of recovery. The un-named sailor is just one of two single Australian Defence Forces ‘Known Unto God’ burials on Australian soil, the other being ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ at the Australian War Memorial.”

Images: Provided by Andrew Camercon. Ships company and HMAS Goorangai next to Nelson Pier and in the Alfred Graving Dock and Unknown Sailor grave.


20. Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

AMSA reports (14/2/24) the “Search and Rescue Trial a Soaring Success.”

A milestone, the inaugural flight of an AMSA Challenger rescue aircraft to Antarctica, marks the culmination of efforts to enhance the range of AMSA’s aerial search and rescue capabilities. During the trial, the Essendon-based AMSA Challenger conducted a supply drop to researchers at the French scientific station, Durmont d’Urville Station on Île des Pétrels, archipelago of Pointe-Géologie in Adélie Land, Antarctica, completing the mission within an 8-hour timeframe.

Australia boasts one of the world’s largest search and rescue regions, encompassing a significant portion of Antarctica. Adélie Land (or Adélie Coast) is a claimed territory of France located on the continent of Antarctica. It stretches from a portion of the Southern Ocean coastline all the way inland to the South Pole. AMSA works with regional and international agencies and governments to constantly improve search and rescue capabilities, and conduct search and rescue operations in nearby regions, and internationally.


Images: AMSA website


21. Australian Naval Podcast Series

For podcast afficionados, MMHN highly recommends:
UNSW Canberra – Naval History Podcast Series – Season 3


22. Cloud under the Sea

MMHN has reported before on the continuing crucial importance of undersea cables dispelling the popular misconception is that the Internet powers modern life and is key for governments, intelligence agencies, and banks. Beneath our oceans is the rarely seen technological marvel of undersea cables.

MMHN highly recommends you watch this ABC report on the worldwide struggle for control, happening under the radar and under the waves.

See: ABC News: The Cloud Under the Sea


23. Centenary Visit of the British Special Service Squadron to Melbourne 1924

MMHN member Michael O’Brien’s excellent presentation on 19 March 2024 at the Shrine of Remembrance, commemorated the visit on March 1924 of a fleet of Royal Navy ships that visited Australia as part of a world-wide goodwill cruise.

The largest battleship in the world, HMS Hood, was accompanied by HMS Repulse and four light cruisers. Melbourne, then the nation’s capital, hosted the fleet from 17 to 24 March. The visit was a sensation with over 500,000 visitors to the ships, an RAAF flyover, ceremonial marches, dinners, dances and fireworks.

The 19 March commemorative event at the Shrine was supported by RUSIV, MMHN, the British Consulate, Military History associations, Military History and Heritage Network Victoria, Naval Historical Society of Australia (Victoria) and the Melbourne Naval Committee.

Image: British Fleet met by Couta boats from the Queenscliff Fishing Fleet as it enters Port Phillip Heads at dawn during the visit to Australia. National Library of Australia.



24. Oh the temptation! The next adventure awaits!

MMHN thanks the inspirational MMHN member Mark Chew of Southern Wooden Boatsailing for alerting us to this opportunity to immerse ourselves in the maritime heritage lifestyle.

The SSB latest newsletter commences with: “There’s a place called Gravelly Beach on the west bank of the Tamar River about half way between Beauty Point and Launceston. Driving along the country road beside the river the first thing that caught my eye was a Chinese Junk in a boat yard, varnished hull gleaming in the sunshine. I find it hard to drive by sights like this, so I parked the hire car and went for a stroll. The second thing that I noticed was that this wonderful old shipyard was for sale!”

Read more – and dream on.



Until next time,


Dr Jackie Watts OAM
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network