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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Senator for Northern Territory
Nigel Scullion

9 June 2004

$28,542 to help tell NT's shipwreck stories

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced $28,542 in funding to help the Northern Territory raise awareness of its rich shipwreck heritage.

During a visit to Darwin with Northern Territory Senator, Nigel Scullion, Dr Kemp announced the funding, from the Historic Shipwrecks Program, to support two publications being prepared by the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery .

"The Northern Territory has a long and varied shipwreck heritage," Dr Kemp said.

"Off its shores lie around 215 known wrecks which chart the Territory's maritime history from early Macassan contact, European exploration through to World War II action.

"Shipwrecks offer a virtual underwater library of information about our past - who came to our shores, what we traded, what was happening in the world at a particular time.

"Of these the new funds, $19,986 will help to explore that rich heritage by producing a booklet called Historic Shipwrecks of the Northern Territory on the Territory's historic shipwrecks."

Senator Scullion said the booklet will focus on 10 or 12 of the Territory's most significant historic shipwrecks to raise awareness of the region's maritime legacy and to let people know of the work that is being done to protect and maintain this heritage.

"It will also set out guidelines for public access and explain the most responsible ways to visits to historic sites for recreational and educational purposes," he said.

Dr Kemp said the second project, to receive $8556, was a brochure about the Filipino-owned supply ship, the Don Isidro.

"This ship and its cargo of food supplies was wrecked off Bathurst Island after being bombed by Japanese aircraft in February 1942. Eleven lives were lost," Dr Kemp said.

"This brochure will outline the shipwreck's historic, cultural and archaeological significance and will provide guidelines for public access."

Senator Scullion added: "The shipwrecks off the Northern Territory coast have many stories to tell. I'm delighted that this funding will help to reveal some of these stories and will also encourage protection of the wreck sites themselves."

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