Greetings!

MMHN is always alert to links to maritime heritage and finds that a parallel can be drawn between our pandemic predicament and those aboard the vessel Ticonderoga who were no doubt jubilant about surviving the long voyage south, only to be quarantined on arrival due to the persistent cases of scarlet fever and typhus. On-shore, the need for quarantine facilities became urgent and the government, in their wisdom, moved the quarantine ground from Point Ormond (Elwood) to Point Nepean, just inside the Heads, to be as far from Melbourne as possible. Having navigated a safe, though tiresome passage through Lockdown 6, we now face the festive season clouded by the prospect of navigating our way through the uncharted waters of the OMICRON variant!
See https://nepeanhistoricalsociety.asn.au/history/quarantine-station/the-ticonderoga-1852/

Contents: 
(Click on the headings below for specific items, or scroll down for the full Update)

1. Blue Economy
2. Ocean Energy – boost for offshore wind in Victoria
3. Aquaculture
4. Submarines and other submersibles
5. Women at the cutting edge of maritime industry
6. Heritage Submarine Otama Project
7. Containers of influence?
8. Not all container news is alarming
9. The saga of Central Pier – western tip
10. Maritime heritage connection with REAL (ROYA) Tennis
11. Sea Schools – going, going gone?
12. Merchant Mariners
13. History Teachers Association of Victoria
14. Antarctic
15. Maritime Archaeology – Heritage REALLY matters
16. Heritage protection fails – again
17. Clydebank Declaration at COP26 – Maritime Industry Update
18. Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) exhibition
19. MMHN Maritime (Riverine) Museum of the Month
20. Maritime Heritage Treasure – Steam Engine – any ideas?
21. MMHN Advocacy – Ferries
 

 
1. Blue Economy

MMHN is pleased to find growing evidence in the media of the reality that Australia is a marine nation. First Nations people have deep and unbroken connections to sea, 85% of us live within 50km of the coast, and our ocean territory is twice that of our land mass and further A large part of our economy – the ‘blue economy’ – depends on the sea: tourism, ports, energy, transport, fisheries and aquaculture, and emerging industries like renewable energy, offshore aquaculture, and biotechnology. Together, these industries are worth more than A$80 billion a year. By 2025, this figure may be $100 billion. Finally, the government appears to be catching up with what maritime enthusiasts have long understood – see below for two examples of the government moving in the right direction.


2. Ocean Energy – boost for offshore wind in Victoria

MMHN is optimistic about this new maritime industry, and mindful that offshore wind turbine platforms will need the support of a new form of specialist shipping – and a workforce trained to service it.  In the past month there have been two major steps forward in relation to ocean energy.

  • New federal government legislation: The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 provided the legal framework to enable progress with investment in projects such as the 2.2 GW Star of the South windfarm off Gippsland’s coast.
  • New state government partnership investment of $43.1 million with Star of the South offshore windfarm project (i.e. $23.6 million and the Victorian Government $19.5 million) to fund offshore geotechnical investigations, transmission design, industry development and on-going community and stakeholder engagement and pre-construction development activities. Rare indeed to see the stars align so well. See  https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/offshore-wind


Image courtesy of Star of the South


3. Aquaculture

There is growing awareness that balance is being sought in relation to promotion and consequences of this ‘new’ industry. Aquaculture industry groups from Tasmania and South Australia and an environmental peak body will appear before the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee this week as part of its current inquiry into Australia’s aquaculture sector. The Committee will hear evidence from key industry groups representing operators in southern regions, including the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association, Tasmanian Salmon Growers Association and Australian Abalone Growers Association, as well as conservation group Environment Tasmania. We are aware that aquaculture operators in the southern regions of Australia face unique opportunities and barriers to their growth when compared to their counterparts in the north, and are working under different regulatory frameworks,’ said Committee Chair, Rick Wilson MP. There are concerns about aquaculture’s impact on the environment, in Tasmania in particular, and is seeking to understand what can be done to improve consumer confidence in this important sector. See https://www.aph.gov.au/AustralianAquacultur


4. Submarines and other submersibles

Still making news: The Royal Australian Navy has successfully completed its annual submarine search and rescue exercise off the coast of Western Australia. International naval participants from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam participated this year, gaining their ‘Commander Rescue qualifications Forces’. Navy’s submarine abandonment, escape and rescue system has been certified for another year as part of Exercise Black Carillon 21, October-November 2021. A submersible provided by Perth-based JFD Australia, designed to be transported by sea, land or air to locate a disabled submarine and rescue its crew. Submarine rescue incidents at sea are unlikely, but RAN submariners are trained and equipped as members of the global submarine search and rescue network Submarine Escape and Rescue Network. See: https://www.contactairlandandsea.com/2021/11/10/annual-submarine-rescue-exercise-wraps-up/


The LR5 from MV Stoker in the water during night operations off the coast of Rottnest Island, Western Australia as part of Exercise Black Carillon 21. Photo by Chief Petty Officer Damien Pawlenko.


5. Women at the cutting edge of maritime industry

MMHN continues to note the growing presence of women in senior positions across the maritime industry sector. For example, in November Cathy Falkiner was appointed the Managing Director of JFD, a global leader in an industry that is extremely critical to national security. Created in 2014 through the merger of James Fisher Defence and Divex, JDF specializes in sub-sea operations and manufacturing underwater specialised combat diving equipment, re-breathers and other life support systems including the RAN submarine rescue system. Operating worldwide, the company is the world’s leading provider of submarine rescue capability and an established provider of submarine escape training. The company is at the forefront of Hyperbaric Rescue and is the leading supplier of commercial and defence diving equipment and saturation diving systems to the commercial industry.
See
https://www.jfdglobal.com/media/news-and-press-releases/jfd-australia-announces-new-managing-director/


6. Heritage Submarine Otama Project

The saga continues. Stalwart Otama stakeholders report further tortuous but hopefully positive developments in the saga of preserving this crippled heritage vessel from the scrap yards. Parks Victoria have taken possession of OTAMA effective 2 October 2021, offering one dollar to the Association in full compensation intending to gift the submarine to an undisclosed another party, or alternatively send her to be scrapped. With either outcome, Otama stakeholders take the view that Western Port will lose a substantial tourist attraction. They report also that the petition, supported by so many, to the Victorian Parliament Upper House sets out grievances was supported by the Hon. Edward O’Donohue MLC. This matter is still to be heard. Further potentially good news: an application for a permit has been made to the Mornington Peninsula Shire to bring Otama ashore at Crib Point. There appears to be renewed interest in the project from officers of the shire and local MPs are showing a renewed interest and have pledged their support. A shire meeting is scheduled. Earlier plans for the on-shore site are being revised. Federal minister and local MP Greg Hunt is a staunch supporter of the project and has requested a new application funding be submitted to the federal government.


7. Containers of influence?

Alarming news On 29 October, ABC Radio National journalists Ian Coombe and Ian Baker reported research into the global shipping container scarcity by Prof. Anna Nagurney, an operations management expert at the University of Massachusetts who claims Without this brilliant invention … we wouldn’t have global supply chains, we wouldn’t have global trade at the level that we have now. Prof. Vinh Thai, shipping and logistics expert at RMIT and the founder of the Australian Maritime Logistics Research Network, says the trouble began early last year. He explains: National lockdowns and restrictions saw demand for goods actually reduce a lot … So ships would skip a port in a route or sometimes skip the whole voyage. This led to a situation where many empty containers were just left around ports and not picked up and countless units were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This phenomenon resulted in scarcity, which translates into increased costs, which ultimately hits consumers. See https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-29/what-is-the-great-shipping-container-hortage-covid-christmas/100550198


8. Not all container news is alarming

MMHN commends ANL Shipping for supporting an outdoor Container Art Exhibition, Life Below Water, to raise awareness of the protection of marine biodiversity throughout Oceania. The installation features eight painted shipping containers that highlight the cultural diversity and appreciation of the ocean with by artists from across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.


9. The saga of Central Pier – western tip

Given the prominent location and heritage significance of Central Pier in Victoria Harbour, MMHN apprehensively watches and waits and worries about the pier, which embodies much significant Docklands maritime heritage. Regrettably, as if natural damages from tides, contamination and pests wasn’t enough, recently debris from storm-damaged boats moored nearby has become entangled beneath the piles of the western tip.

Regrettably, this section of the pier will be demolished, but it will, to an extent, ‘protect’ the heritage value of the pier. A key condition of Heritage Victoria’s permit is that a Heritage Interpretation Strategy be created to detail the historical significance of the western in the context of Victoria Harbour. Part of this work is an ‘interpretative element’ requiring a physical representation of the full length of Central Pier as it was when constructed in 1916-17. However, MMHN argues that in addition to this representation, post-demolition, tangible parts of the structure (e.g. the piles and any metal elements) should not simply be discarded, but must be retained for future use in Docklands. MMHN recognises that public safety, contamination and pest infestation are considerations but strongly argues that there are other equally critical considerations. MMHN has requested that Development Victoria commission a qualified heritage practitioner to assess all salvaged material and that it be made safe for re-use. Historic images of Victoria Harbour in its heyday reveal much impressive maritime port infrastructure. Regrettably, since Docklands urban re-development commenced, such examples of Melbourne’s marvellous industrial heritage was simply dismantled and discarded over the decades. In early times, discarding such valuable heritage assets can be attributed to ignorance or pressure to save money. However, since then, the informed view is that the Return on Investment in salvaging such material is justified. There is heritage value, as well as economic value, in salvaged material – especially when it comes from heritage-listed infrastructure.

 

Image: Herald Sun


10. Maritime heritage connection with REAL (ROYA) Tennis

Just to be clear – ‘REAL’ tennis is ‘ROYAL’ tennis and few are aware that real tennis has a connection to maritime heritage. It is no surprise that the game of tennis arrived in the colonies by ship. Actually, several ships had a role in this. Melbourne-based author Richard Travers, an aficionado of real tennis, delved into the diaries of his forebears aboard vessels including the Dharwar and Durham in his book. Real Tennis in Hobart – the pioneers. Samuel Smith Travers migrated to Tasmania bringing a game he enjoyed to Australia which centuries later was to become a major sport industry. He built the first tennis court in Australia in 1874 in Hobart and also published the first book on tennis Treatise on Tennis in 1875. Competitions commenced; international competitors arrived. For further information email: richard@travers.net.au

       
Vessel Durham Screw Steamer                                   Vessel Dharwar
Wells, I. R., artist.                                                         Schutze, George, photographer.
SLV H31953                                                                 SLV H99.220/2569


11. Sea Schools – going, going gone?

To an island nation such as ours, Sea Schools are of essential importance in maintaining applied skills and maritime capabilities. In times past, national shipping companies played a significant part in ensuring their ships were efficiently managed by well-trained seafarers Times have changed. Gone are the days when commercial shipping companies trained their own seafarers – and at the same time sustained the national nautical skills capability.

Fortunately, the RAN continues to train our seafarers, however, this is clearly not the primary focus of the RAN. The erosion of Australian maritime skills is a serious concern. It is a concern elsewhere too. In 2020 Paul Wood, a Merchant Navy Officer at P&O Ferries, compiled a fascinating chronicle of seafaring training over centuries. Paul writes that he is encouraged to find that so many share my sentiments of frustration, bewilderment and even anger at the way that successive British Governments have allowed a once great national asset – our British Merchant Navy – to wither away.

Extracts from Paul’s fascinating chronicle of UK Sea Schools, commencing in:
1672 Sir William Boreman established the school at Greenwich offering education, maintenance and clothing for twenty poor boys of the parish. Boys were instructed in navigation as well as writing and accounts. The commercial and philanthropic intent was clear – a workforce for the merchant navy. The school was endowed to the Draper’s Company in 1684 (part of the present-day William Boreman Foundation).

Skip forward to 1756 when Jonas Hanway founded The Marine Society with the initial aim of recruiting, clothing and fitting out boys for wartime service in His Majesty’s ships and for peacetime service in ships of the Merchant Marine. In 1786 the Marine Society purchased the ship Beatty and converted it into a training ship, renamed Marine Society, the first pre-sea training ship in the world to pioneer nautical training for one hundred, generally poor boys.

In 1851 a woman stepped into the maritime training scene to support colonial mercantile endeavours. Mrs Janet Taylor ran a Nautical Academy at 103 Minories, London, which was much patronized by officers of the Royal Navy and the East India Company. Notably Janet Taylor was an accomplished astronomer; she published her own stellar and lunar tables; and in 1851 she exhibited a sextant at the Great Exhibition. During the 19th century seafarers’ schools proliferated.

In 1915 The London Nautical School was established following an inquiry into the loss of the RMS Titanic which determined that more pre-sea training opportunities for the Merchant Navy were required.

In 1969, changing attitudes – and skill requirements perhaps – becomes evident in the name change of The Nautical College, Pangbourne, to Pangbourne College. The dropping of the word Nautical was not a cosmetic exercise as it marked a fundamental shift away from a syllabus that was dominated by nautical subjects to one that prepared students for university and civilian careers. Then, in 1983, Pangbourne College finally abandoned navigation, as a subject.

Paul concludes by stating that the chronicle is far from complete and he appeals for your assistance: I would greatly appreciate any suggestions with regard to corrections and addition.
See http://www.rakaia.co.uk/assets/chronicle-of-sea-schools.pdf


12. Merchant Mariners

Retired merchant mariners will be familiar with another vessel, MV Durham, built in Belfast in 1934, initially as a refrigerated cargo vessel of 10,984 gross tons with a length overall of 510 feet and an insulated cargo capacity of 496,878 cubic feet. The two diesel engines gave a service speed of 16 knots. For extended periods between 1934 and 1939, 1946 and 1950 and, finally, 1955 and 1964 the Durham operated as a cadet training ship carrying up to 40 cadets. Living accommodation and schoolroom were housed in the No. 6 Upper Tween Deck. Full-time instructional staff included a schoolmaster, a seamanship instructor and a physical education instructor. As can be imaged, cadets worked (and played hard) See anecdotes and images on http://www.rakaia.co.uk/durham.html#photos

The Durham Association is a global group whose membership is drawn from those who worked in the New Zealand Shipping Co, Federal Steam Navigation Co or P&O Group. Recently the Association has opened up to anyone who has worked in the merchant navy. The Association has branches throughout Australia and New Zealand in addition to the UK and other international maritime nations.

 
Fremantle. Robert Perry Photographer


13. History Teachers Association of Victoria

History teachers play a critical role in engaging the maritime enthusiasts of the future. This is why MMHN is delighted to find that the professional association Victorian history teachers (HTAV) has included three fascinating tales of maritime heritage in the latest edition of their journal Agora (Vol.56 No.3). This journal is curated as a resource for professional reading by history teachers. MMHN takes the view that when history teachers are entranced by tales of maritime heritage, then it is likely that students will be also. For example articles include:

  • The Role of Piracy in the British Empire | Scott Hetherington. The British Empire was established on the back of pirates who enriched the Crown with Spanish treasure that funded the expansion of the Royal Navy.
  • A French Australia: What Were the Chances? | Matthew Allanby. The French were exploring Australia’s coastline at the same time as the British, but a number of obstacles and different priorities saw the British establish Antipodean colonies.
  • The Indigenous Man Who ‘Volunteered’ to Sail with Matthew Flinders | Harrison Croft. Bungaree does not appear in official records, but Flinders’ journal reveals he was essential to the successful circumnavigation of Australia.

These are ‘difficult’ times for historians (and history teachers) as they thread their way sensitively through ‘narratives’, including maritime narratives, presenting interpretations of history as new understandings emerge in our society. For example – again from Agora:

  • The Naming of the Yarra River as an Act of Colonialism | Jack Norris. The naming of features within the Australian landscape is an act of colonial possession that has silenced and ignored Indigenous knowledge and presence within the Australian landscape.
  • Teaching Difficult Histories: Approaches for the Classroom | Bill Lewis. The prospect of teaching contested colonial histories can be daunting, but a balance of teaching strategies and awareness of potential pitfalls can lead to some of the most stimulating moments in the classroom.
  • Colonisation and the Australian Environment, 1788-1900 | Richard Broome. At least nine ideas need to be considered when understanding the impact of colonisation on Australia’s environment.

See: https://www.htavshop.com.au/product/agora-2021-issue-3-colonial-histories/


14. Antarctic

Seafaring in Antarctic waters continues to capture the imagination. Much of it has been, and continues to be, devoted to enabling scientific research on specially designed, floating laboratory vessels such as Australia’s new vessel Nuyuna. A reminder that The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington on the 1st of December 1959. It guarantees that the southernmost continent could only ever be used for scientific research. Not all Antarctic research happens on the water. In West Antarctica, the interior of the ice sheet sits atop bedrock that lies well below sea level. As the Southern Ocean warms, scientists are concerned the ice sheet will continue to retreat, potentially raising sea level by several metres. Scientists have used numerical ice-sheet models for decades to understand how ice sheets evolve under different climate states. These models are based on mathematical equations that represent how ice sheets flow. But despite advances in mapping the bed topography beneath the ice, significant uncertainty remains in terms of the internal ice structure and conditions of the bedrock and sediment below. Both affect ice flow.

Rising seas are already making storm damage more costly, adding to the impact on about 700 million people who live in low-lying coastal areas at risk of flooding.Scientists expect sea-level rise will exacerbate the damage from storm surges and coastal floods during the coming decades. But predicting just how much and how fast the seas will rise this century is difficult, mainly because of uncertainties about how Antarctica’s ice sheet will behave. These massive ice shelves hold back land-based ice, but as they thin and break off, this resistance weakens. The land-based ice flows more easily into the ocean, raising sea level.

See https://theconversation.com/widespread-collapse-of-west-antarcticas-ice-sheet-is-avoidable-if-we-keep-global-warming-below-2-169651 and 60 days in Iceberg Alley, drilling for marine sediment to decipher Earth’s climate 3 million years agoSee https://theconversation.com/60-days-in-iceberg-alley-drilling-for-marine-sediment-to-decipher-earths-climate-3-million-years-ago-114553


15. Maritime Archaeology – Heritage REALLY matters

Continuing with rising sea levels: between 18,000 and 8000 years ago melting ice sheets caused sea levels to rise. Tasmania was cut off from the mainland around 11,000 years ago. New Guinea separated from Australia around 8000 years ago, inundating an estimated 2.12 million sq.km of land on the continental shelf surrounding Australia, and displacing human presence. Since 2017 archaeologists, rock art specialists, geomorphologists, geologists, specialist pilots and scientific divers on the ARC-funded Deep History of Sea Country Project have collaborated with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation to investigate submerged archaeological sites off the Pilbara coast. Radiocarbon dating indicates sites to be older than 7000 years when inundation occurred. Two underwater archaeological sites in the Dampier Archipelago:

  • Cape Bruguieres – hundreds of stone artefacts – including mullers and grinding stones on the seabed at depths down to 2.4m.
  • Flying Foam Passage, traces of human activity associated with a submerged freshwater spring, 14m below sea level, including a confirmed stone cutting tool made out of locally sourced material.

16. Heritage protection fails – again

Protecting priceless submerged heritage is a serious concern. Whether by design, or simple incompetence, the federal government continues to leave submerged archaeological sites open to from irrevocable destruction by erosion and development – including oil and gas installations, pipelines, port developments, dredging, spoil dumping and industrialised fishing. Underwater cultural sites more than 100 years old are theoretically protected under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001).

This protective measure has been adopted as law by more than 60 countries but inexplicably NOT ratified by Australia. However, in Australia, the federal laws that protect underwater cultural heritage in our waters have been modernised in The Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976), reviewed and re-badged as Australia’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Act (2018) effective July 2019. Name changes are easy, aren’t they? The devil is always in the detail. This revised Act fails to automatically protect ALL types of sites. Worse, experts claim it actually privileges protection of non-Indigenous submerged heritage. For example, all shipwrecks older than 75 years and sunken aircraft found in Australia’s Commonwealth waters are given automatic protection while protection of other submerged heritage, regardless of age and including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sites, requires ministerial approval. See https://theconversation.com/in-a-first-discovery-of-its-kind-researchers-have-uncovered-an-ancient-aboriginal-archaeological-site-preserved-on-the-seabed-138108
 

Archaeologists working in the shallow waters off Western Australia. Jeremy Leach, DHSC Project


17. Clydebank Declaration at COP26 – Maritime Industry Update

COP26 was a disappointing global conference on many levels. However, MIAL reports their members welcomed the Australian federal government signing the Clydebank Declaration at COP26 effectively committing to the establishment of ‘green corridors’, for the accelerated development of zero emission shipping routes, is an important step for a significant port state such as Australia, which is so heavily reliant on shipping to get our exports to market. Australia has great potential as a major exporter of renewable energy and a lot to gain from the acceleration of developments in zero carbon shipping. MIAL notes that it is pleasing to see that the significant decarbonisation challenges faced by shipping is on the radar, and look forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders, including the Federal government to also support Australia’s domestic maritime industry in this extremely important transition. MMHN congratulates MIAL for its forward-thinking approach to maritime industry in Australia. The MIAL Future Leaders Whitepaper – Predictions for the Australian Maritime Industry in 2040 identifies key actions needed that capture technological, social and economic drivers for business and government to make change. Let’s hope the decision makers in government take note.
See
https://mial.com.au/our-work/future-leaders-whitepaper
To see the detail of the Clydebank Declaration see https://ukcop26.org/cop-26-clydebank-declaration-for-green-shipping-corridors/
 


18. Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) exhibition

Re-shaping the land and waterways worked wonderfully for those who have prospered since colonisation and not at all for those for whom the swamps and lagoons were important sites and sources of food. MMHN acknowledges the undeniable impact on Indigenous peoples and at the same time staunchly advocates for due recognition of the heritage significance of Victoria Harbour and Central Pier ‘emerging’ from Melbourne’s swamp. RHSV reports that their marvellous 2020 exhibition is now available online: The swamp vanishes – The story the West Melbourne swamp. See https://www.historyvictoria.org.au/the-swamp-vanishes-digital-exhibition/

Before European settlers arrived in Port Phillip district, a large wetland that lay between the Yarra River and the Moonee Ponds Creek sustained the life and cultural traditions of the Kulin nation. It was known by European settlers as Batman’s Swamp, later West Melbourne Swamp. While some people saw it as a thing of beauty, within a few short years the swamp was noisome and reviled, and talk began of draining and reclamation. By the end of the century significant engineering works had changed the very shape of the land. A feature of the land which had sustained Aboriginal people for millennia prior to European settlement in 1835 became a refuge for the down and out during the 1930s depression. ‘Reclamation’ works continued until the wetland is now represented by the Dynon Road Tidal Canal, parallel to Dynon Road, and a small wetland reserve.


Note that the MMHN, with funding support from the English-Speaking Union (ESU), has commissioned an historically accurate narrative for a new walk along the north bank of the Yarra and around Victoria Harbour, entitled Birrarung Marr to the Blue Lake.


19. MMHN Maritime (Riverine) Museum of the Month

Houston Maritime Center, Texas
You may be surprised to learn that Houston is a significant maritime city. The Houston (Texas) Maritime Center combines a museum, an education center and a contact center for the maritime industry – which ensures that it enjoys a very strong support base from the shipping industry. The museum has conventional displays (you can preview them in their YouTube movie (Overview
). Few are likely to be aware of the Texas Navy or the story of the Houston Shipping Channel. In 1914 the Houston Ship Channel was officially opened under President Woodrow Wilson as the ‘World Port of Houston and Buffalo Bayou’. Despite shallow rivers and shifting sandbars, a channel was dredged to a depth of 25 feet, allowing larger vessels to travel up Buffalo Bayou towards downtown Houston. Today, the channel is dredged up to 45 feet deep and over 200 feet wide, allowing some of world’s largest ships to travel up and dock in the channel. FYI Bayou is defined as a marshy arm, inlet, or outlet of a lake, river, etc., usually sluggish or stagnant
See
https://houstonmaritime.org/

Note – Houston is comparable to Melbourne: It is the largest port in the US by tonnage, handling around 75 million tons of domestic cargo and another 210 million tons of foreign cargo.

 


20. Maritime Heritage Treasure – Steam Engine – any ideas?

In 1882, prior to Australian Federation, the colony of Victoria established its own navy in Geelong and among other vessels, purchased two second class torpedo boats from John Thornycroft and Co., Chiswick, England (near London) to counter the rumoured Russian invasion. An archaeological dig in the grounds of Victoria’s Queenscliff maritime museum in 1983 uncovered the remains of Lonsdale, buried in dredging spoil, many years ago. The steam engine used to power the famous torpedo boat from the Victorian Navy (before the formation of the Australian Navy) HMVS Lonsdale (or Nepean?). When the boats were finally paid off in 1914, this engine was set up at the Gordon Technical College in Geelong as a teaching aid for engine driving exams and after the engine laboratory was finally closed down, maritime steam enthusiast Rob Craddock bought the engine and squeezed it into his overflowing shed, saving it from dismantling and being lost. After he died, Rob’s family uncovered the engine in his shed. Obviously, it is of immense heritage significance and should rightly be in a museum. It is now being offered for sale and the purchaser will need to meet rigorous criteria before the sale will be agreed. Mark Dye, a long time engineering member of the heritage Steam Tug Wattle restoration Project, alerted MMHN Board member Jeff Malley to this ‘disposal’ dilemma in the hope that MMHN could help in some way. So – does anyone have thoughts on this? Contact Mark directly at steamtug@yahoo.com.au
 


21. MMHN AdvocacyFerries

MMHN recently met with senior officers from the Minister for Public Transport to advocate for a public a ferry route from Harbour Esplanade to Federation Square, which would zigzag across to connect with Southbank. MMHN argues that such a ferry route is as legitimate a public transport option as any bus or tram route, and that such a ferry should rightly attract the same level of government subsidy as all other public transport options. Without this subsidy no commercial operation is viable. Time for relevant state ministers responsible for transport ‒ Jacinta Allen and Ben Carroll ‒ to recognize that Melbourne’s waterways are relatively empty and cost free compared to our roads and tunnels, which are congested and costly.

 

Merry Christmas

The Board of MMHN extends our warmest best wishes for the festive season and beyond to all those who share our enthusiasm for all matters maritime – past, present and future. 

May there be fair winds smooth sailing in 2022

 

Until next month,

Kind regards
Jackie
Dr Jackie Watts OAM
Chair,
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network
0400 305 323 or email info@mmhn.org.au