Australasian Hydrographic Society - 11/06/2012

Australia on the Map Region

Appeal for Information
The mystery of the Deadwater Wreck is one step closer to being solved! What is the Deadwater Wreck? Is it another 17th century Dutch wreck?

The Deadwater Wreck was seen in the Deadwater, a branch of the Vasse-Wonnerup Estuaries northeast of Busselton, Western Australia. The sighting was reported by credible 19th century sources, such as the famous explorers Frank and Augustus Gregory and the Receiver of Wrecks, Worsley Clifton. It was described as being ‘ancient’, ‘over two hundred years old’.

Alas locals began to remove material from it in the 1860s and in 1876. In 1902, salvage rights were granted. Since that time, the wreck was seen no more, though tantalising clues emerge from time to time. What remains is buried under silt, much like the recently excavated Bunbury whalers.

However, historical research by Rupert Gerritsen has established that it was probably about 30 metres long, from the period between 1650 and 1750, and possibly Dutch. Where the wreck lay has since been silting up, and there may has been some sand mining in the area. “Before the professional archaeological search begins we want, we must, obtain as much information as possible,” said project leader Rupert Gerritsen, “So I implore anyone with any scrap of information that may help us, to get in contact with our Heritage consultant, Bob Sheppard.”

Bob Sheppard
Heritage Consultant
08 9295 0891


The Search for the Deadwater Wreck is an archaeological project of the Australia on the Map Division of the Australasian Hydrographic Society.

The archaeological consultant for this project is Cosmos Archaeology (principal: Cos Coroneos)

East Australia Region
The next meeting of the EAR will be at the end of May when a presentation will be made regarding the ongoing development of the Postgraduate hydrographic survey course being proposed at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania.

Hydrographic “Surf”eying – Some Have All the Fun
Recently, AHS Member, Stephen Holtznagel of the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW, undertook a survey of Wamberal (Terrigal) beach riding his jet ski in some fairly boisterous surf conditions. Stephen previously used his jet ski survey exploits during the hydrographic surveys associated with the salvage operation of the Pasha Bulker, grounded on Newcastle beach, NSW, in 2007.  

Stephen uses a CEE Hydrosystems RTK system to iron out most of the surf action and had two Go Pro cameras fitted on the jet ski as a visual record.  As can be seen on the photo, at times things get lively. During this survey, Steve lost one of his Go Pro cameras during an exciting descent from a larger than usual wave crest. (Go Pro cameras are used for what might be called ‘extreme sports’). Given the conditions and the extent of the beach, it was thought that the chances of ever recovering the Go Pro camera (in its case it is only some 6x8x5cm), were less than the chance of winning a lottery. But some six weeks later Stephen received a call from the local Police command responsible for the beach area, to say that the camera had been handed in to them by a sharp-eyed beachcomber.  Although the camera had no identification the Police were able to view the film in it and were able to read a vehicle registration number.  From that number the Police were able to trace the vehicle, and Stephen, and then arrange the return of the camera. Unusual event, unlucky to lose, unlikely to recover, but in the event - mighty lucky to recover and in working order!  

AHS Awards
The AHS has an Awards scheme to recognise the professionalism and service to our industry as well as to promote education in hydrography and related fields. The 2011/12 AHS awards are now closed and the panel is finalising the awards.

Details about the awards as well as nomination forms for the future are available from the AHS website:

Last updated: 22/10/2020