Stories of shipwrecks told

OPENING: Andrew Chappell and Paulene Heinonen with Port Lincoln's shipwreck story.

OPENING: Andrew Chappell and Paulene Heinonen with Port Lincoln's shipwreck story.

SUBMERGED, a travelling exhibition which tells stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks opens at Axel Stenross Maritime Museum this Sunday and it has an interesting local connection. 

Sixty-eight shipwreck stories were nominated by 46 maritime museums and heritage institutions from around Australia with just 14 of the most compelling stories selected to feature in the exhibition. 

Two of those stories are from South Australia, one from right here in Port Lincoln. 

The Admella and Port Lincoln’s Degei will feature in the nationally touring panel exhibition Submerged – Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks uncovering Australia’s rich shipwreck history.

Fijian built trawler Degei was based in Port Lincoln, she was heading out of Boston Bay when she struck rocks on Donington Reef in 1974.

The story of the Degei was researched and put together by museum volunteer Andrew Chappell with help from several others.

Ian Fuller, who was on his first trip on Degei as a deckhand, gave insight into the disastrous event.

Mr Chappell said he put in three shipwreck stories from the Eyre Peninsula and it was quite an achievement for the museum to have one selected for the exhibition.

But getting the details together for the story was far from an individual effort as Mr Chappel spoke to about 20 people for information on the Degei shipwreck. 

The other South Australian shipwreck to feature, SS Admella, was a passenger steamship named after its trading circuit – Adelaide, Melbourne and Launceston.

It struck a submerged reef off Cape Banks, South Australia in 1859. Eighty-nine of the 113 passengers and crew on board lost their lives.

The museum’s public relations officer Paulene Heinonen said the exhibition covered Australia’s fascinating shipwreck history and this was a great opportunity for the community to learn more about local maritime history.

“Australia’s coast is the final resting place of over 11,000 shipwrecks – roughly one wreck for every three kilometres of coastline,” she said.

In addition to hosting the travelling exhibition, the museum also has a number of relics from local shipwrecks and will have information on some of these also on display. 

The exhibition opens this Sunday, August 12 at 11am with a special open day where there will be live music by Nelson’s Blood and fish and chips for sale. 

Submerged is presented by the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Australian Maritime Museums Council and also features wrecks of merchant vessels, steamers, schooners, whalers and a submarine. 

The exhibition is on display at Axel Stenross Maritime Museum from Sunday August 12 to Sunday, September 23.

The museum is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm onTuesday, Thursday, Sunday and 1pm to 4pm on Saturday and public holidays.