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 Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.
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.
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.
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 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.
“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.