Our coastline might be beautiful, but it’s certainly proven a headache for many a ship’s captain over the centuries. Hundreds of vessels have found themselves spiked on a hidden reef or lurking shard of rock, taking on water and sinking forever – or remaining perched above the surface, a constant reminder of the dangers of our shores.
The upside of this is that we now have many historic shipwrecks to gawk at, dive on, or study in seaside museums. These watery time capsules make a great talking point to get children interested in our fascinating seafaring history. So much more fun than staying at home and watching Titanic!
The Batavia was shipwrecked on the Abrolhos Islands off the coast of WA in 1629. You can see the reconstructed remainder of the wreck (along with other unfortunate vessels) in the WA Museum.
The Shipwreck Coast, which runs along Victoria’s coastline between Port Fairy and Cape Otway, is thought to be home to around 200 shipwrecks. You can discover the stories behind the ill-fated ships at well-curated locations along the way, like Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.
The SS Maheno was originally a luxury ship before becoming a hospital ship during the first World War. It was being towed to Japan to be used as scrap metal when it was caught in a cyclone and washed up onto the famous stretch of 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island in Queensland.