Degei after hitting Donington Reef

Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks

Submerged – Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks opened Sunday 12 August 2018  at Axel Stenross Maritime Museum with a special gold coin entry, live music by “Nelson’s Blood”, fish & chips  by Jeremy. What better way to spend a chilly Sunday! View the exhibition here until Sunday 30th September.

Australian National Maritime Museum

Did you know that Australia’s coast is the final resting place of over 11,000 shipwrecks – roughly one wreck for every three kilometres of coastline. This nationally touring panel exhibition uncovers Australia’s rich shipwreck history. The Australian National Maritime Museum put together the exhibition. 68 shipwreck stories were nominated by 46 maritime museums and heritage institutions from around Australia with 14 of the most compelling stories selected to feature in the exhibition.

Degei wreck featured

The Axel Stenross Maritime Museum story on local boat Degei was one of those selected. Fijian built trawler Degei was a well known tuna boat based in Port Lincoln. She was heading out of Boston Bay very early one morning when she struck rocks on Donington Reef, SA in 1974.

Museum volunteer Andrew Chappell researched and put together the Degei story with help from several local people. Ian Fuller, who was on his first trip on Degei as a deckhand, gave insight into the disastrous event.

Submerged exhibition banner of Degei shipwreck

Submerged banner Degei shipwreck

Fascinating ship wreck stories

The exhibition also features wrecks of merchant vessels, steamers, schooners, whalers and a submarine. The oldest wreck featured is WA’s Batavia. Its 1629 loss on Beacon Island, and subsequent mutiny, is one of the most dramatic events in Dutch and Australian history.

Other wrecks include Sanyo Maru, a Japanese motor vessel lost in 1937 in Boucaut Bay NT, British merchant ship Sydney Cove lost in 1797 off Preservation Island, Tasmania and the paddle steamer Wagga Wagga which sank at Narrandera, NSW in 1913.

The exhibition also features one shipwreck from outside Australia – Australia’s second submarine HMAS AE2 which was lost in 1915 during the First World War in the Sea of Marmara, Turkey.