Underwater cultural heritage (historic ship and aircraft wrecks and artefacts)
Since 2018, 14 existing Queensland shipwreck entries were updated and 4 new Queensland shipwrecks entries, 3 new aircraft entries and 2 new artefact entries were added to the Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database (AUCHD).
All ship and aircraft wrecks and associated artefacts submerged in Australian or Queensland waters for at least 75 years are protected under either the Australian Government’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018 (UCHA 2018), which replaced its Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 in July 2019, or the Queensland Heritage Act 1992.
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) manages the state’s underwater cultural heritage resource in a number of ways. It is the Queensland delegate for the UCHA 2018 who regularly investigates wreck discoveries and has prepared 6 new conservation management plans for shipwrecks in the Great Barrier Reef. DES enters underwater cultural heritage information (including shipwrecks, aircraft wrecks and artefacts) in the Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database (AUCHD).
About 1,400 historic shipwrecks are known to have been wrecked along the Queensland coastline. Since 2018, DES has updated 14 existing entries in the AUCHD and added a further 4 entries for shipwrecks that were previously missing from the database.
The Queensland Heritage Act 1992 was amended in 2014 to protect underwater cultural heritage, a category expanded to include historic aircraft submerged in Queensland waters for at least 75 years. Since 2018, DES has added 3 aircraft entries, along with 2 artefact entries, to the AUCHD.
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets
Queensland underwater cultural heritage entries updated in the AUCHD
Queensland underwater cultural heritage entries added to the AUCHD
Accumulative number of historic shipwrecks and aircraft wrecks and artefacts entries updated or added to the Australian National Shipwreck Database for 2012–2020.