The Governor with staff from Museums WA in front of the Batavia
Batavia wreck, Shipwreck Museum Fremantle

Governor visits WA Shipwrecks Museum and WA Maritime Museum

The Governor toured the WA Shipwrecks and WA Maritime Museum, accompanied by WA Museum CEO Mr Alec Coles, and Director of Engagement Mr Jason Fair.

Lead by Julia, one of the museum’s passionate staff, the Governor was given a tour of the rich history of explorers and merchant ships that have run aground of the coast of Western Australia and the maritime history of WA – past to present.

The WA Shipwrecks Museum is recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere. The Museum is housed in 1850s-era Commissariat building and has since been restored to its historic glory. Steeped in history, the galleries house hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline, including the original timbers from Batavia (wrecked in 1629), the de Vlamingh Dish, and also countless artefacts from the Dutch shipwrecks ZuytdorpZeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.

The Governor hearing about what happened on the 29 July 1588 to 1963
Tour guide Julia explains the history of WA’s maritime events from 1588 to 1963

The Governor also viewed the Eglinton shipwreck display. On the night of the 6th September 1852, after celebrating the impending landfall, the ship encountered a series of reefs some 50 km north of Fremantle and became a total loss.

The Governor learning about the Eglinton
Shipwreck of the Eglinton display

No visit would be complete without viewing the Batavia Gallery – the centrepiece of the Shipwrecks Museum. The gallery houses the reconstructed remains of the VOC ship Batavia, excavated by archaeologists in the 1970s.

Wandering through the many exhibits on offer – some of which included the Roebuck, Hartog to deVlamingh and information on the museum’s overseas research – was like stepping back in time.

The Governor with museum staff looking at spanish coins
Collection of Spanish coins found off the coast of WA

Next stop was the Maritime Museum. Perched on the Indian Ocean’s shore, the WA Maritime Museum is symbolic of Fremantle’s past, present and future as a coastal city and port.

The Maritime Museum houses several unique galleries that explore WA’s maritime relationship. From leisure boats and handcrafted sailing boats to commercial pearl luggers, the Museum inspires visitors to discover WA’s affinity with the ocean.

The Governor looking at past defense maritime memorabilia
Defense maritime memorabilia

The Museum is home to the winning America’s Cup yacht, Australia II, an Oberon class submarine — HMAS Ovens, Jon Sanders’ Parry Endeavour and many other iconic vessels from WA’s maritime history.

The Governor viewing the HMAS Ovens
Oberon class submarine — HMAS Ovens

“Western Australia in a major sense is entrenched in Australian maritime history.

In terms of settlement, this is where for years multiple nations made landfall on the WA coastline and all have left their mark. This can be seen in great detail throughout these magnificent exhibits. If you want to understand the origins of being a West Australian is all about, this is a must visit.”


*Currently the Maritime Museum is hosting an temporary exhibition called “Ancient Rome: Epic Innovators and Engineers“. This is while construction of the new museum is completed and set to open on Saturday 21 November 2020.

View all Articles
Skip to content