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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Discover what lies beneath the sea

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Susan Tsicalas, treasurer of the Brunswick Valley Historical Society amongst the exhibition. Photo Jeff ‘Wrecked’ Dawson.

The mystery of what lies beneath the sea is up for discovery at the museum in Mullumbimby, aka the Brunswick Valley Historical Society. The local ‘wreck’ at Byron is a local shipwreck of the SS Wollongbar that many people have enjoyed discovering. But did you know there are over 11,000 shipwrecks – roughly one wreck for every three kilometres of coastline, around Australia?

The stories of the wrecks of merchant vessels, trawlers, schooners, whalers, and even a submarine, are explored in the nationally touring panel exhibition ‘Submerged: Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks’ that uncovers Australia’s rich shipwreck history.

One of the many stories up for discovery is about screw-driven steamer Wollongbar (II) that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank at Crescent Head near Port Macquarie in 1943. Other stories on display include Australia’s oldest wreck, the WA’s Batavia that was lost in 1629 on Beacon Island. The surviving crew then mutinied whichis one of the most dramatic events in Dutch and Australian history.

‘As an island nation, shipwrecks are a very important part of Australia’s rich maritime heritage,’ said Kevin Sumption, director of the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Take the opportunity to find out about shipwrecks and other local history at the Brunswick Valley Museum, on the corner of Myokum and Stuart Streets Mullumbimby. They are open every Tuesday and Friday from 10 till 12 and market Saturdays from 9am till 1pm. Call 6684 4367 to make an appointment.

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