Historic shipwrecks and aircraft wrecks

N.B. you are viewing the archived 2015 report.

Return to the current 2017 report.

Key finding

Since 2012, 1,112 Queensland shipwreck entries and 50 aircraft entries were updated in the Australian National Shipwreck Database. The term ‘historic shipwreck’ has been replaced in the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 with ‘underwater cultural heritage artefact’ to broaden the range of artefacts covered.

All shipwrecks and aircraft older than 75 years (from the time they were wrecked) are protected under either the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 (Commonwealth) or the Queensland Heritage Act 1992.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) became the Queensland delegate under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 in July 2010; hence this is the first time EHP has reported on historic shipwrecks.

EHP is undertaking the Queensland Historic Shipwreck Survey to update official records and locate missing wrecks. Information regarding underwater cultural heritage (including shipwrecks and aircraft wrecks) is entered in the Australian National Shipwreck Database (ANSDB).

About 1,100 historic shipwrecks are known to have been wrecked along the Queensland coastline. Since 2010 EHP has updated about 900 original entries in the ANSDB for historic shipwrecks within Queensland’s jurisdiction and added a further 200 entries for shipwrecks previously missing from the database. Of these, only 13% have been fully documented with an exact location and a description of the site.

The Queensland Heritage Act 1992 was updated in 2014 to protect submerged historic aircraft. At the time of reporting, no submerged aircraft had reached 75 years of age, however in readiness the ANSDB does include 50 aircraft which date from 1941 onwards and will be progressively protected from 2016.

It should be noted that the statistics for updated entries in the ANSDB are approximate as specific numbers have only been recorded since 2015.

More information:

Indicator: Number of historic shipwrecks and aircraft entries updated in Australian National Shipwreck Database

Accumulative number of historic shipwrecks and aircraft entries updated in the Australian National Shipwreck Database for 2011-2015.

Download data from Queensland Government data