2 May

Many of Victoria’s shipwrecks are under threat from environmental and human interference. Since 2016 Heritage Victoria’s Maritime Heritage at Risk Program has identified, prioritised and safeguarded the State’s most important shipwrecks. As part of the program, Heritage Victoria commenced the Community Shipwreck Monitoring Program in 2018 to monitor activity at shipwreck sites.

In March 2024 Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club joined the program, which currently consists of Queenscliff, Werribee, Port Albert and Port Welshpool Volunteer Coast Guards and Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club. The participants are responsible for monitoring 14 shipwreck sites and two port facilities.

Port Fairy will be responsible for monitoring four historically significant shipwrecks in Port Fairy Bay. One wreck is Thistle which was important in the settlement and early development of Victoria as it carried the first permanent European settlers to Portland in November 1834.

Illustration of Henty's 'Thistle', a pioneer vessel in the colonisation of Victoria
Henty's "Thistle"
Source: Public domain

Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club will be reporting on suspicious behaviour and vessels observed at the sites, as well as recording information if the shipwrecks become exposed.

Community involvement is paramount in ensuring the ongoing protection of Victoria’s precious shipwrecks, which provide valuable social and economic benefits to coastal townships.

Page last updated: 02/05/24