Shipwreck search unites nations

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Shipwreck search unites nations

The Australian National Maritime Museum, along with the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, Silentworld Foundation and the Silentworld Robe Branch of the National Trust of South Australia, recently held a public presentation at the Robe Institute.

The following summary was published in the Robe Community News.

The groups launched a booklet as part of the ongoing Koning Willem de Tweede Shipwreck Project.

Titled ‘Wrecks and Relics: Looking After Maritime Archaeological Finds in the Robe Region’, the booklet discussed Dutch ties to Robe’s maritime past, the preservation and stabilisation of maritime cultural heritage, and pertinent State and Commonwealth heritage legislation.

Copies of the free booklet were handed out on the night and extra copies are available at the Robe Customs House.

Supper was provided by the Robe Branch National Trust featuring Dutch specialties for attendees to enjoy.

The following morning, a workshop on conserving and caring for archaeological artifacts took place at the Robe Customs House Maritime Museum.

Dr James Hunter from the project gave the approximately 50 attendees an update on what has been found so far, and what the next steps will be in their search for the wreck site.

The project’s primary goal is to search for, locate, and conduct an archaeological survey of the historic ship’s remains.

Additionally, the project team, in collaboration with the local community, aim to document any privately or publicly held items recovered from the wreck and offer conservation guidance for their future preservation.

Koning Willem de Tweede, an 800-ton Dutch barque, met its end off Guichen Bay’s Long Beach on June 30, 1857, resulting in the loss of 16 lives.

Just before this tragedy, over 400 Chinese miners en route to the gold fields in Bendigo and Ballarat, Victoria, disembarked from the vessel.

The Koning Willem de Tweede Shipwreck Project received support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, facilitated through the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Australia, and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

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