We hope that you enjoy this first MMHN Update for 2024!

In these most challenging and precarious times, we are reminded that global maritime industry and global political conflict are inextricably enmeshed – and each depends on global maritime heritage. It has ever been thus. More of this later in the update.


1. MMHN Event Invitations – Please note in your diaries
2. Maritime Citizen Science – CoastSnap
3. Beach Camera Controversy
4. Wreck of the Endeavour News
5. Canals – Choke Points in global maritime trade
6. Chinese Coast Guard
7. Blue Acceleration – AI Tracking commercial exploitation of our Oceans
8. Global Fishing Watch Map
9. Undersea Cables – Vulnerability
10. AI and autonomy, advanced cyber and electronic warfare
11. AUKUS Autonomous Undersea Vessels – Cables?
12. AUKUS Women in Maritime
13. Wind Farm Controversy –Saga is still being written.
14. Port of Hastings
15. Ports Victoria News: New CEO
16. Cruise Shipping
17. Cruise Tourism
18. Greenline (Yarra Northbank) Trail – City of Melbourne (CoM) Project
19. Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)
20. Polly Woodside National Trust Education
21. Recreational Fishing Using Drones
22. France-Australia Naval Ties
23. OSSA News
24. The Network Approach Works
25. Finally – MMHN Membership!

1. MMHN Event Invitations – Please note in your diaries

  • March 19: 100th Anniversary of the Royal Navy Special Service Squadron’s visit to MelbourneMMHN will commence our 2024 Events Program by commemorating the 100th Anniversary of a most significant maritime event in Melbourne – and most appropriately at the Shrine of Remembrance.At a time when Melbourne was Australia’s capital city, between 17th-24th March 1924, as part of a world tour the Royal Navy’s British Special Service Squadron, principal battleship HMS Hood and battlecruiser HMS Repulse together with light cruisers HMS Delhi, HMS Danae, HMS Dragon HMS Dauntless and HMS Dunedin with 4572 officers and sailors aboard arrived at port Melbourne.

    This visit of the world’s mightiest battleship was an Australia-wide sensation drawing huge crowds circa 400,000 people to Princes Pier to see the vessel and participate in extensive celebrations.

    MMHN Board Member, Michael O’Brien will present on the significance of this event in Australia’s defence history with reference to the visiting fleet, its visit to Melbourne – and the astounding welcome it received! Michael will also refer to the sad fate of these key battleships in the Second World War. A small collection of print artifacts will be exhibited in the Shrine foyer.

    When: March 19 at 2pm
    Where: Shrine of Remembrance, St Kilda Road, Melbourne
    For catering purposes please RSVP to by 12 March


  • April 20: Now you see it, soon you won’t: Heritage Shipping Control Tower, North Wharf. Docklands. On-site visit and discussion.This prominent, once cutting-edge maritime infrastructure asset sits on the tip of North Wharf in Docklands. Among the heritage-listed Victoria Harbour and Yarra River, is the Shipping Control Tower, which played a crucial role in Melbourne and Victoria’s prosperity. Owned by government, this impressive maritime infrastructure asset, recognised as significant in the evolution of Melbourne, languishes, devoid of heritage protection, neglected and left to rot.MMHN will share what we know of the history and regrettable disregard for its cultural value.

    When: Saturday 20 April, meet at 10.30am
    Where: At the tip of North Wharf, Docklands.
    Take the Collins St tram to the last stop walk towards Docklands library, continue walking along the North Wharf Road in towards the Bolte Bridge.

2. Maritime Citizen Science – CoastSnap

La Niña is now morphing into Le Nino which means that some beaches along our coast are stripped of sand, while others have grown wide. Such changes in the past were unrecorded. The Conversation (January 5) reported on a project which enables coastal data to be collected in a consistent manner like never before

CoastSnap uses public (citizen) snapshots taken on smartphones to track beach change. You may have seen a network of stainless-steel camera cradles along coastal trails on beaches all around the world positioned at a perfect vantage point for tracking changes to the coast – whether it be due to rising sea levels, extreme storms or other factors. Simply place your camera in the cradle, take a photo and upload using the QR code at the station. The position and angle of each photo is always the same, over time these snaps reveal how the beach is changing.

See: The Conversation: Become a Beach Scientist this summer

3. Beach Camera Controversy

MMHN can report that not all snapping is ‘happy’. One surf camera Bells Beach has sparked a local consternation. Surfing is not only an individually competitive pursuit – but it is also clearly territorial.

Although there are cameras right along Australia’s east coast providing images of surf conditions, a camera attached to a private house overlooking the Winki Pop surf break at Bells Beach on Victoria’s Surf Coast is, according to Rachel Clayton (ABC 13/12) viewed by locals as a privacy violation resulting in a Petition of 2,500 signatures and an academic report. The issue is not merely privacy but potentially a conflict with the rules and values surrounding Bells Beach, a designated Surfing Recreation Reserve, prohibiting commercial activity without a permit. The commercial activity in this instance is images of the site accessed only via a Subscription to online surf forecast company Swellnet

See:  ABC News: Controversial Surf Camera at Winki Pop, Bells Beach

Image: Winki Pop at Bells Beach is one of Australia’s most popular surf beaches
(ABC News: Rachel Clayton)

4. Wreck of the Endeavour News

ANMM has presented new claims regarding the identification of the Endeavour shipwreck located at Newport Harbour, Rhode Island, south of Boston. Daryl Karp, CEO of ANMM reports that archaeologists had uncovered further evidence that the wreck, explorer Captain Cook’s ship HMB Endeavour was shipwrecked off the US coastline after being deliberately scuttled by British forces during the American War of Independence.

Two new discoveries including the location of a pump well, used to pump out the bilges, and also an unusual woodworking joint known as a keel-stem scarph joint in the bow section are new supporting evidence and there has been no further dissenting responses refuting the Australian identification in the past two years.

See: The Age: Endeavour Shipwreck

You may struggle to visit the Endeavour wreck but the Australian-built replica , reputed to be one of the world’s most accurate maritime replica vessels has voyages open to the public.

See: Endeavour

Image: Revealed: what has been found so far and why the ANMM is convinced the wreck is HMB Endeavour. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Site plan illustration: Dr James Hunter of ANMM.

5. Canals – Choke Points in global maritime trade

Two Canals operate as major ‘choke points’ in global trade: the Suez Canal now under threat from hostilities in the Red Sea and Strait of Hormuz; and the Panama Canal between the Atlantic and the Pacific. The reason investment in these canals occurred was to deliver economic and political advantage. Both canals are in serious strife. Passage of commercial vessels through Suez is in ‘political jeopardy.

For speculation on economic impact see: Think: Red Sea Crisis

Passage through the Panama is in jeopardy because of climate change-related drought. Inadequate water levels impede vessel flow through. Stephen Bartholomeusz (The Age 4/12) 2023 writes “Since rain records started being kept in the 1950, this year is rainfall 30 % per cent below average this year. 190 million litres of fresh water to move a vessel through the canal’s locks, with only about 60 % of the water recovered.”

The maximum draught of passing ships has been reduced. Some cargo is being redirected through US ports or being transporting by road or rail and then reloaded.

See: The Age: Panama Drought

Image: Global trade can be disrupted at various ‘chokepoints’. GIS/

6. Chinese Coast Guard

MMHN obviously regards this topic of critical importance in relation to maritime law in our region. According to the New York Times (21/11) the China Coast Guard (CCG) is now the world’s largest, and its range and presence have increased dramatically with comparable vessels, which dwarf those of other nations. Categorized by Beijing as a fishing fleet it bristles with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, seeking to dominate the strategic waterways of Asia, China has deployed an armada of boats that are equipped with 76-millimeter cannons and the capacity to add anti-ship missiles, and are bigger than U.S. Navy destroyers but they are not Chinese Navy vessels. Their hulls are painted white, with “China Coast Guard” in block letters on the sides. Their constant presence helps China dominate one of the most crucial waterways in the world, the South China.

China now has around 150 large coast guard patrol ships of at least 1,000 tons, compared to roughly 70 for Japan, 60 for the US and just a handful for most countries in Asia. The China Coast Guard was formed in 2013 from the maritime law enforcement branch of the Peoples Armed Police. In 2018 the China Coast Guard was granted maritime and law enforcement rights akin civilian law enforcement agencies in order to control illegal activities, keep peace and order, and safeguarding security at sea, when performing duties related to the use of marine resources, protection of marine environment, regulation of fishery, and anti-smuggling The Coast Guard Law ,February 1, 2021, allows CCG ships to use lethal force on foreign ships that do not obey order to leave Chinese waters.

See: NY Times: China Coast Guard and also Wikipedia

You may wish to view the numerous YouTube video clips of the CCG in action.

Image: China Coast Guard logo from CCG website.

7. Blue Acceleration – AI Tracking commercial exploitation of our Oceans

Activities that take place out of sight, including fishing, shipping and energy development”. Scientist Jennifer Raynor reports (The Conversation 4/1) describes the rapid “blue acceleration” worldwide to harness and capture the economic value of the ocean’s “vast potential, ocean-based industries”. Fishing, shipping and energy production generate at least US$1.5 trillion in economic activity each year and support 31 million jobs. This value has been increasing exponentially over the past 50 years and is expected to double by 2030.Transparency is obviously crucial if we are to prevent environmental degradationoverexploitation of fisheries and marine resources, and lawless behaviour such as illegal fishing and human trafficking. Yet a remarkable amount of activity occurs outside of any public monitoring systems.

The sheer size of the ocean has made tracking industrial activities at a broad scale impractical – until now. A newly published study in the journal Nature combines satellite images, vessel GPS data and artificial intelligence to reveal human industrial activities across the ocean over a five-year period. Researchers at Global Fishing Watch, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ocean governance through increased transparency of human activity at sea, led this study, in collaboration with Duke University, University of California, Santa Barbara and Skytruth Map and data provide the most comprehensive public picture available of industrial uses of the ocean.

See:  The Conversation: AI and Satellite Imagery to Map Ocean Activities

8. Global Fishing Watch Map

The Global Fishing Watch Map is the first open-access online platform for visualization and analysis of vessel-based human activity at sea. Powered by satellite technology and machine learning, the map merges multiple types of vessel tracking data to provide a view of global human activity at sea, including fishing activity, encounters between vessels, night-light vessel detection and vessel presence.

See: Global Fishing Watch

Image: Global Fishing Watch, CC BY-ND

9. Undersea Cables – Vulnerability

MMHN highly recommends the recent ABC new documentary ‘The Cloud Under the Sea’ uncovers the shadowy world of telecommunication sea cables.

“We all rely on the world wide web under the waves — but who’s watching who?” Almost everything you say, do, or see online travels the globe under the sea through a network of cables that connect almost every country on the planet — but it’s also susceptible to espionage.

MMHN has reported before on our utter dependence of undersea cables. Our vulnerability is rarely acknowledged –except when disaster occurs such as the oceanic volcano severed Tonga’s links to the rest of the world.

See: ABC The Cloud Under the Sea

Image: The undersea cable network forms the backbone of the internet.
(Supplied: Telegeography from the ABC Website.)

10. AI and autonomy, advanced cyber and electronic warfare

The 2nd pillar of AUKUS revolves around jointly developing and employing advanced technologiesAmong the new initiatives announced was a maritime autonomous experiment and exercise series. (Perhaps a sign of the focus on advanced tech, the trilateral meeting took place at the US military’s Defense Innovation Unit in Mountain View, California.) This effort will consist of a series of integrated trilateral activities aiming to enhance capability development and improve interoperability.

See: Undersea Tech and Pillar II

11. AUKUS Autonomous Undersea Vessels – Cables?

The US, UK and Australia recently completed a trilateral exercise focused on using unmanned undersea technology to protect subsea critical infrastructure as part of the security pact known as AUKUS, the Pentagon said in a statement.

See: Uncrewed

The exercise off the eastern coast of Australia, included Australia’s new Undersea Support Vessel and the Australian Defence Vessel Guidance, as well as the UK Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Tamar. “ADV Guidance’s primary role is to support undersea and surveillance systems trials and includes the ability to host a small team of sailors as well as on-board and off-board systems, with both crewed and uncrewed capability,” HMS Tamar is on a five-year deployment to the Indo-Pacific. It used divers and undersea vehicles to conduct “mine countermeasure operations, and monitor critical infrastructure, including pipelines and communication cables”.

The exercise’s follows several European incidents where undersea infrastructure had been damaged: a telecom cable connecting Estonia and Sweden; a gas pipeline and telecom cable connecting Estonia and Finland. NATO is said to be struggling in prevention of such threats to undersea infrastructure. “The response for us now, as militaries and maritime communities, is to work out how we work together best in order to deliver [better security],” Adm. Ben Key, First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, said during an interview at a Washington think tank in October.

Image: HMS Tamar, pictured above at a US Navy base, is currently on a five-year deployment to the Indo-Pacific. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesus O. Aguiar.

12. AUKUS Women in Maritime

AUKUS might provide further opportunities reminiscent of WW2 when women were encouraged into non-traditional employment.

Ben Packham reports on claims by the United States Studies Centre that “Australia is yet to meet the challenge of developing the skilled workforce needed to build nuclear-powered submarines via the AUKUS alliance”. 

Further that women and skilled migrants will be the key to building and maintaining Australia’s nuclear submarine capability. The USSC has called for gender targets for the AUKUS workforce, and the formation of a “supportive culture” to attract and keep female workers to boost the size of the possible AUKUS workforce pool.

13. Wind Farm Controversy – Saga is still being written

Off-Shore Wind farms are not, of course, new technologies. – which are broadly welcomed. Nevertheless, political controversy has managed to erupt in Australia. – even around assembling the infrastructure on land.

Reporter Mike Foley (The Age 8/1) reports on the regrettable as yet unresolved State-Federal disagreement, Minister for the Environment Tanya Plibersek recently made a decision to block a proposed facility at the Port of Hastings in Victoria to assemble turbines for offshore wind farms. Environmental concerns appear to have outweighed energy concerns in this instance. Rachel Baxendale reports (The Australian 8/1) that Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek rejected the Victorian government’s plans for a $27m facility to assemble turbines for offshore wind farms. Plibersek has ruled that the proposed construction of a wharf at the Port of Hastings would have an adverse impact on wetlands of international importance.

Upset at the unexpected rejection, Victoria’s Climate Action and Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio claims that they proposed a joint taskforce on the wind project more than year ago. What do the proponents say?

Reporters Graham Readfearn and Adesh Ola (Guardian Australia Online 10/1) quote Star of the South CEO Charles Rattray “contingency plans are in place to ensure that its offshore wind farm project goes ahead after the federal government vetoed its proposed wind turbine plant at the Port of Hastings in Victoria.” And that “dedicated port facility would be preferable, but that many offshore wind projects globally have used multiple ports. He adds that Star of the South is still aiming to deliver the first electricity from the project off the coast of Gippsland by the end of this decade”.

Both Bell Point (Tas) and Geelong Port are being considered as alternative assembly ports, Premier Allen argues that with mitigation, Port of Hastings remains a viable option. Kieran Rooney (The Age 17/1) reports the federal government’s recent decision to block environmental approvals for a proposed wind farm hub centred’ on the adverse impact of the project on internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands. Stay-tuned.

See: The Guardian: Port Hastings Wind Turbine Blocked
and Port of Hastings: Offshore Wind

14. Port of Hastings

Western Port has been an active trading port since the early 1800s, featuring a wide variety of trades either derived from the sea or dependent on maritime transport. The Port of Hastings Corporation is a public entity established in January 2012 under the Transport Integration Act 2010 (Vic).

The land surrounding the Port of Hastings has been reserved for port related uses since the late 1960s. The port’s proximity to the oil and gas fields of Bass Strait and easy access for large vessels along the natural deep channels has given the port a key role in the energy sector.

See: Port of Hastings History

The wetlands significance emerged later in 1982 when Western Port Ramsar site which comprises a large proportion of the Western Port bay to the north of Phillip Island was listed as a Ramsar site of global significance .
See: Water Victoria: Wetlands

15. Ports Victoria News: New CEO

Craig Walker will commence as the new CEO for Ports Victoria in February. He has held various advisor roles within government and as CEO and EGM for Gladstone Ports Corporation. Mr. Walker has also worked in rail freight with QR National and held a Board position at North Queensland Bulk Ports. Quoting the media release “Approximately $26 billion of locally produced and manufactured exports pass through the state’s commercial ports annually, handling almost a quarter of Australia’s total food and fibre exports”.

Since it was formed in 2021, Ports Victoria manages maritime navigation and operational safety for the ports of Melbourne, Geelong and Hastings and oversees the operations at the port of Portland.

16. Cruise Shipping

MMHN staunchly advocates that Victoria is failing to optimise the value of our Cruise Industry – and that cruise terminal facilities at Station Pier which, when national or international comparisons are made, is irrefutably a piece of sub-standard tourism infrastructureAs the cruise industry ramps up globally, MMHN takes the view that Victoria needs to step-up too.

Describing the potential of the Australian cruise industry, Joel KatzCruise Lines International (CLIA) Managing Director in Australasia states “We will see 81 cruise ships operating in Australian waters over the course of 2024, which is 14% more than last year,” Many of these ships will be staying longer and offering more local sailings, which means Australia will welcome more than 3,700 port calls around the country – an 18% increase over last year.” And this promises “an enormous economic potential for communities around the Australian coast. “The total cruise passenger capacity in Australia this year will be up by 42% over 2023, which reflects the huge passion Australians have for cruising and the strong overseas interest in sailing down-under, Cruising delivered a record economic impact worth $5.6 billion to the national economy last financial year, and all signs suggest cruise tourism will continue to be enormously valuable to Australia throughout 2024 and well beyond.

See: Cruise News

17. Cruise Tourism

Federal Change

Heartening news: Minister for Infrastructure Catherine King announced in December 2023 additional time to consult on a range of potential amendments to the Coastal Trading Act to aid in the revitalisation of the Australian maritime industryBy extending the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 exemption r from Jan 2024. To Dec 2024 means that eligible cruise operators do not need a licence for coastal trading, such as carrying cruise passengers to and from Australian ports. The exemption applies to vessels in excess of 5,000 gross tonnes which are capable of a speed of at least 15 knots, capable of carrying at least 100 passengers, used wholly or primarily for the carriage of passengers between any ports in states or territories, (except between Victoria and Tasmania).

See: Ministerial Release

Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic

Who knows with such reforms are effective, but MMHN is hopeful that amendments under consideration will help our Cruise Industry step-up. The Treaties Committee to consider Amendments to the Annex .Recently (27/11) a Parliamentary joint Standing Committee on Treaties held a public hearing for its inquiry into the Amendments to the Annex of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965 (FAL Convention).

The FAL Convention aims to prevent unnecessary delays in maritime traffic, aid cooperation between states and secure uniformity in formalities and procedures. The Annex to the Convention contains Standards and Recommended Practices on formalities, documentary requirements and procedures that are to be applied to ships, crews, passengers, baggage, and cargo from arrival through to their departure. 

Chair, Mr Josh Wilson MP: “Australia has been a signatory to the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic since 1986 and over time, has been an active contributor to the work of the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) . If adopted, these amendments would support Australia to continue to modernise its maritime sector operations and take further steps towards full compliance with the Convention.” Mr Wilson said: “The amendments would lead to increased efficiencies for both industry and government and create greater opportunities for adopting new maritime technologies. This includes the standards for the adoption of the Maritime Single Window which is a digital reporting platform which will make the exchange of mandatory information between industry and government easier.

Officials from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts; the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade participated.

See: Standing Committee on Treaties website
and Parliament of Australia: Treaties

State Change

Ports Victoria charges increased with its new Tariff Schedule of January 2024. The controversial increase port charges have now come into force, including an increase in Geelong of 10% with 15% in all the other ports controlled by Ports Victoria.

See: The Age: Things will cost more

The value of cruising cannot be underestimated, having contributed nearly $380 million to Victoria’s economy in 2022-23 and helping support jobs across tourism, hospitality, retail and related sectors.

In protest Carnival Australia’s Princess Cruises and Cunard will instead visit other interstate docks from 2025, in a move that will likely have a major impact on the state’s tourism economy. However, the decision to homeport these popular cruise lines in other markets, is in no small part due to the recent decision made by Ports Victoria to significantly and unexpectedly increase fees and charges.

18. Greenline (Yarra Northbank) Trail – City of Melbourne (CoM) Project

Late in 2023 CoM released the next iteration the Greenline Master Plan – Future Melbourne Committee Report

MMHN notes that the CoM has again signalled that it has prioritised indigenous presence and environmental restoration matters over maritime heritage which exists along the entire waterway. The CoM continues to ignore historical evidence that maritime trade along the entire river – both sides is the reason Melbourne prospered. Recognizing maritime heritage in no way contradicts the waterway as being of major significance to traditional owners. The river drew Indigenous peoples, explorers, traders and later settlers to what is now Melbourne.

We note mention in the report to maritime heritage in relation to the Seafarers Rest Park area and are pleased to an intention to provide landing bases for ferries there. There is also reference to a park at the tip of North Wharf and CoM “to work with developers in the adaptive reuse of the old Victoria Harbour Shipping Control Tower”.

See: Greenline Master Plan

Note above: City of Melbourne diagram from Greenline Project headed ‘Cultural Connector’ which clearly indicates extremely limited recognition, if not in essence, complete disregard, for cultural connection manifested in maritime heritage.

19. Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)

We draw your attention to the maritime image in the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce logo (below) which clearly recognises Victoria’s maritime trade heritage! The Melbourne Chamber dates back to 12 March 1851 with Initial membership included some of Melbourne’s most visionary business people and politicians representing the diverse range of trades operating at Port Phillip, including merchants, importers, financiers, ship owners, manufacturers, brokers and more. Many of the initial Chamber members were closely involved in the political life of the colony, holding positions on the Melbourne City Council and Victorian Parliament.

The Melbourne Chamber(MCC), as it was then known, was instrumental in shaping the city we work in today. The Chamber supported the Federation of Australia from as early as 1869 (although it did not come into effect until 1901), and was heavily involved in advocating for improvement works for shipping facilities with the establishment of the Melbourne Harbour Trust in 1877. This tradition of influence continues. From 1991, the organisation became widely known as the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry,(VECCI) reflecting our membership base across the state. In 2015, the organisation’s name officially changed to the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) as we became part of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and IndustryThe Melbourne Chamber of Commerce was also established as a separate entity to service medium to large businesses.VCCI is the largest and most influential not-for-profit business organisation in Victoria, informing and supporting 85,000 members.” 


VCCI, Victoria’s leading business advocacy group recently expressed disquiet at the Greenline Project.

Push to pause Greenline Project but Capp won’t stop, VCCI called on Lord Mayor Sally Capp to pause work on the $316 million project until after the next Council election – in case a future council decides against it. MMHN notes the trail to connect North bank from the CBD to Docklands already exists and could be simply upgraded and sign-posted.

See: Herald Sun: Push to pause Greenline project

20. Polly Woodside – National Trust Education

MMHN continues to be deeply concerned about the long-term sustainability of this vessel owned by the National Trust (NT). We bemoan the closure and repurposing of the adjacent Polly Woodside Museum which exhibited a maritime collection to extend the knowledge of children visiting the vessel itself.

Surging Polly bookings in 2024 clearly indicate that teachers understand the value of maritime heritage. NT Manager Kathleen Toohey reports ‘Polly Woodside Education is going Full Sail.’ New programs have been devised under the program entitled Ship Shape to encourage new ways to engage students of all step into the shoes of sailors who lived and worked aboard the Polly Woodside. scrubbing the deck, steering the ship and signalling, whilst learning about the history of Polly Woodside and the lives of sailors”.

The National Trust has an information resource focusing on the Gardner family which actually lived aboard the Polly – which MMHN applauds as equally engaging for children rather than cliché ‘pirate ‘approach to maritime heritage. See: Gardner Family

The National Trust also offers digital resources for students including an interactive program and downloadable activity sheets.
Available from: National Trust – Education

For more Information call 9656 9889.

Image: Polly Woodside from the National Trust website.

21. Recreational Fishing using Drones

Recreational fishing and boating is an immensely popular and lucrative business in Australia. It enjoys State support in Victoria – you may recall that the State government actually funded fishing tackle for Year 5 school students in 2023. Yet – new technologies are threatening to disrupt the fun- and the environmental sustainability in a number of ways “Drone fishing” is a relatively recent innovation in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Some recreational anglers are using personal drones to fly baited lines into hard-to-reach areas of water, or to look for good fishing areas.

Research academic at Rhodes University Alexander Claus Winkler in The Conversation South Africa (1/12 ) reports drones being used in recreational fishing and the risk of recreational drone -assisted fishing. An Australian YouTube video is cited to illustrate the adoption of drone assisted fishing, Like Australia, recreational fishing is a popular sport in South Africa, which has a 2,850km shoreline. A recent estimate of other number of marine shore-based anglers is about 400,000. Aside from recreation, line-fishing provides the primary source of protein and income for about 2,730 commercial fishers, 2,400 small-scale boat fishers and 30,000 small-scale shore-based fishers in South Africa. To risk jeopardising fish stocks is problematic on a number of levels, economic and humanitarian. As a consequence of the rapid increase in drone fishing, recreational fishing enthusiasts are beginning to worry. See: SA drones

So what is happening in Australia? It is legal to use drones for fishing in Australia, provided you comply with general drone regulations. According to The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) guidelines such as to fly drones within visual line-of-sight and not to fly drone over or near people.

See: CASAFishWA and Forestry & Fishing

22. France- Australia Naval ties

Australia’s navy will enjoy greater access to France’s defence facilities in the Pacific and Indian oceans under a new defence co-operation agreement.

Andrew Tillett (AFR 5/12) reports on a new agreement after talks with her Australian counterpart Penny Wong, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna described the submarine cancellation as not the “most pleasant moment”, but that it was now time to “move on”. Colonna said that Australia is France’s “number one partner” in the Pacific It would give Australia greater access to France’s military bases in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, while the French side would also be allowed to use Australian facilities with more ease.

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna “The Indo-Pacific is a top priority for France,” Colonna said at a joint press conference on Monday. “We are a nation of the Pacific. We are determined to step up, beef up our cooperation with partners in the region,” Colonna said. The French State’s network in the Indo‑Pacific is dense, with a diplomatic and consular presence in 39 States. The French State agencies, including research bodies, are also very present. Furthermore, France also maintains a permanent military presence in the Indo‑Pacific.

23. OSSA News

Lauritzen Plaque

Congratulations to OSSA, ANARE and Friends of the Nella Dan Association on achieving another key step in commemorating of the enduring relationship between Australia and Denmark. A reception was held at the Mission to Seafarers at which the Danish Consul unveiled the plaque 12 December 2023, the date coinciding with the 70th Anniversary of the initial sailing from North Wharf of the famous Lauritzen vessel Kista Dan prior to its heading to Antarctica. Awaiting its permanent installation Seafarers Rest Park (est. Aug/Sept 2024) the plaque may be seen at Seaworks at Williamstown as part of the OSSA Antarctic Exhibition.

Lady Vera Propellor

This wonderful artefact once inappropriately tucked away at the rear the Aquarium at Enterprize Park, awaits permanent installation with informational signage at Seafarers Rest Park and may be viewed temporarily at Seaworks,

24. The Network Approach Works!

Please continue to send ideas and information. We are all enriched by your engagement and contribution.


25. Finally – MMHN Membership

If you are not already a member or have not yet renewed, please consider supporting MMHN by become an official member of the network for 2024.



Thank you.
Until next time,


Dr Jackie Watts OAM
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network