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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation
The Hon. Peter McGauran MP
10 August 1999
The Commonwealth Government is backing an underwater search aiming to formally identify the last resting place of one of the most important ships in Australia's history.
Later this month the Australian National Maritime Museum will begin a four-week field study of the site believed to contain the remains of Captain Cook's ship of discovery, HMB Endeavour.
Announcing Commonwealth support for the underwater investigation, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage Robert Hill, and the Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation Peter McGauran, said that it was thought the ship might lie in waters off the west coast of the USA.
"It is believed that the Endeavour was scuttled in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island during the American War of Independence ," Senator Hill said.
"It was sunk in a strategic position along with a number of others, to stop the French ships from coming close inshore and also to keep them from falling into enemy hands."
Mr McGauran said the Commonwealth would contribute $52,000 towards the Endeavour search because of the ship's important place in Australia's history.
"Just over 30 metres long, the Endeavour was tiny by today's standards, but it managed to carry Captain Cook and his crew on the long discovery voyage from England to Australia and beyond more than 230 years ago," Mr McGauran said.
"This ship played a key role in setting the direction for the development of the modern Australian nation."
Ministers Hill and McGauran said the remains of the Endeavour had been tentatively identified but an archaeological survey was needed for final confirmation.
"The grant we are announcing today will allow three marine archaeologists from the Australian National Maritime Museum to visit and survey the site later this month. If they do identify the Endeavour, not only will they have solved a two-century-old mystery, but they will be able to study the wreck to see what other information it can reveal.
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) (02) 62 77 7640 or 041112 8582
Jane Henschke (Mr McGauran) (02) 6277 7350 or 0417 421 599