Search for Shipwreck Starts; Salvaging Nation's Forgotten History of Trade with India

Article excerpt

Megan McEwan

Reporter

A PIECE of forgotten Australian history is set to be uncovered as a team of marine archaeologists launch an expedition from the Gladstone Marina today to find the Royal Charlotte.

The Australian National Maritime Museum is leading the underwater archaeology expedition to Frederick Reef to search for the ship, which was wrecked in 1825.

Australian National Maritime Museum technology and archaeology curator and expedition leader Kieran Hosty said the Indian-built ship would outline a long history of trade between Australia and India that had been largely forgotten.

C[pounds sterling]There is a focus on Europe and England but one of our major trading partners was India,C[yen] Mr Hosty said.

C[pounds sterling]It has slipped out of historical focus.C[yen]

Although they do not know the exact location of the Royal Charlotte, Mr Hosty said years of research had helped them to pinpoint a rough location of the vessel.

C[pounds sterling]We have two survivor accounts,C[yen] Mr Hosty said.

C[pounds sterling]We are using that information as well as information from an extensive newspaper report from the Calcutta Gazette.C[yen]

He said all of the accounts suggested the ship was wrecked 1.85km (one nautical mile) south of Observation Cay on Frederick Reef.

Mr Hosty said for the next 19 days their goal would be to locate and survey the shipwreck and assess its archaeological and historical importance. …