Monday 29 August 2016

‘Swallowed by the Sea’ explores Australia’s most famous shipwrecks


- includes photos and dive notes

Over the centuries, Australian waters have become the final resting place for many ships lost in raging storms, on jagged reefs, under enemy fire, or through human error. In the forthcoming book, Swallowed by the Sea (NLA Publishing $44.99, 1 October 2016), maritime archaeologist Graeme Henderson explores the most famous wrecks from across Australia, dating back to 1622 and as recent as 2010. Readers learn about the oldest known wreck in Australian waters, the Tryal, driven into sunken rocks by the inept Captain Brookes, and the loss of emigrant barque Cataraqui, which struck a reef off King Island in the middle of a stormy night, drowning more than 400 people.

Henderson sets the scene for each disaster, describing how the ship came to be in Australian waters, the people involved, the dramatic circumstances of the actual wrecking and the aftermath. He has also personally located and dived at many of the wrecks featured, and describes what it’s like to swim the length of the HMS Pandora wreck, to dive in heavy turbulence raising artillery pieces from the Batavia, and the eerie experience of viewing the undercut cliffs that witnessed the drowning of asylum seekers on SIEV 221.

Alongside historical paintings and photographs of the ships themselves, Graeme’s accounts include recent underwater photographs of the dive sites with recollections by members of the diving crew. From English and Dutch trading vessels in the seventeenth century to emigrant ships in the nineteenth century and the great warships of the Second World War, Swallowed by the Sea provides a fascinating insight into how each ship was wrecked and discovered, and what remains of the wrecks today.

Graeme Henderson AM is a maritime archaeologist, former museum director and the 2002 Western Australian Citizen of the Year. His discovery at age 16 of the wreck of the seventeenth-century Dutch East India Company vessel, Vergulde Draeck, sparked a life-long interest in shipwrecks. He went on to develop the colonial shipwrecks program at the Western Australian Museum, to contribute to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and to serve as director of the Western Australian Maritime Museum for 13 years. Graeme has published widely on individual shipwrecks and those found off the coast of Western Australia; this is his first book on shipwrecks that occurred Australia-wide.

Paperback | Oct 2016 | National Library of Australia | 9780642278944 | 240pp | 265x220mm | Forthcoming | GEN | AUD$44.99, NZD$54.99 

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