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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

$440,000 to preserve our nation's historic shipwreck sites

Media release
06 November 2008

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Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett today announced $440,000 in funding from the Australian Government's Historic Shipwrecks Program to protect the nation's underwater cultural heritage.

The Minister made the announcement on a visit to the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston, Tasmania, where three of the 29 funded projects will be carried out.

"The Historic Shipwrecks Program provides valuable financial assistance to state and territory agencies who manage, protect, identify and raise awareness of historic shipwrecks on behalf of the Commonwealth," Mr Garrett said.

"Shipwrecks are virtual underwater libraries of information from our past, and the secrets and insights our shipwrecks hold tell a story about our nation, revealing information about the people that traveled to our shores and the times in which they lived.

"With a vast maritime heritage, it is vital that we act to preserve Australia's historic shipwrecks and their artefacts for future generations.

"Through this year's funding experts here in Tasmania will visit new sites and re-inspect known wreck sites, as well as continue detailed recording of relics held in state museums so the information can go into the Australian National Shipwrecks Database."

Other projects to be undertaken by state and territory agencies include:

Mr Garrett said each wreck was a precious record of our past, serving as a marker of some of the most significant events of our time.

"One example of significant national interest is this year's discovery off the Western Australian coast of the HMAS Sydney II and the HSK Kormoran. HMAS Sydney II sank after a fierce battle with the HSK Kormoran on 19 November 1941. This site, along with thousands of others, is now protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 to ensure they remain for future generations to understand and enjoy," Mr Garrett said.

For more information about the program and funded projects visit http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/shipwrecks/program/index.html

Commonwealth of Australia