Back to All Events

Ocean Talks: Maritime Archaeology Mysteries

  • Australian National Maritime Museum 2 Murray Street Sydney, NSW, 2000 Australia (map)

National Archaeology Week Special Talk: Titanic, Black Reefs and other shipwreck stories  

What do the Titanic, a satellite and South Australia have in common? Join us as we discuss these topics and more with a lively panel of maritime archaeology experts.

Hosted by Kieran Hosty, manager of the museum’s Maritime Archaeological Program.

Speakers and topics:

  • Emily Jateff, Australian National Maritime Museum: The last mysteries of the Titanic.  In 2005, maritime archaeologist Emily Jateff participated in the Last Mysteries of the Titanic expedition funded by the Discovery Channel and Earthship Productions, and led by filmmaker and explorer James Cameron. The purposes of the expedition were to investigate the interior of the bow section of RMS Titanic using state-of-the-art miniature remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and to send the first live video feed from the bottom of the ocean.

  • Paul Hundley, Silentworld Foundation: Boots and All – Recent Shipwreck Discoveries in the Coral Sea.  In December 2018, a team of archaeologists from the Silentworld Foundation and the Australian National Maritime Museum located a mystery shipwreck at Boot Reef off Australia’s far north-east coast. Archival information narrowed down the possible identity to one of a handful of wrecks from the early 19th century – foremost among them a site first reported in 1891, which according to legend, contained a hoard of silver coins that came to be known as ‘The Jardine Treasure’.

  • Dr James Hunter, Australian National Maritime Museum: The Barque South Australian - Discovery and Documentation of South Australia’s Oldest Known Shipwreck.  In early 2018, a collaborative team comprising maritime archaeologists, museum specialists and volunteers from the South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW), South Australian Maritime Museum, Silentworld Foundation, Australian National Maritime Museum, MaP Fund and Flinders University surveyed for and located the shipwreck site of the barque South Australian. Lost at Rosetta Harbor in December 1837, South Australian is South Australia’s oldest documented shipwreck. Its significance also derives from its use as one of the earliest immigration ships to ferry European settlers to the colony of South Australia, as well as careers as a postal packet and ‘cutting-in’ vessel for shore-based whaling activities. This talk will discuss the effort to locate South Australian, as well as archaeological fieldwork that has taken place at the wreck site subsequent to its discovery.

  • Irini Malliaros, Silentworld Foundation: Black as Reefs.  Satellite imagery of reef systems that are home to historic shipwrecks has revealed their effect on the surrounding reef ecosystem. Normally the tougher, metal elements of a shipwreck are all that remains as reminders of the wrecking event. The largest of these, usually iron and in the form of anchors and chain, appear to be releasing iron into the water and the effect is both surprising and useful - the reef around a shipwreck appears dark in colour owing to a change in the benthic community structure, highlighting the area where shipwreck remains are likely to be found.

This Ocean Talk is presented in partnership with The Silentworld Foundation.

Note: Ticket includes light refreshments and exclusive access to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition between 5 - 6pm.

Time and date: 6-8pm, Thursday 23 May 2019

Location: Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Sydney

Cost: $35 (members $20)

For more information: