LOCALS can get up close and personal to Fremantle's shipwrecks without setting foot in the water following the launch of a Maritime Archaeological Association of WA (MAAWA) website and app last week.
Shipwrecks Western Australia lists pictures and maps a number of shipwreck sites from the WA coast, Rottnest Island and Swan River, including The Black Swan Dredge, which sank near the North Mole in 1911 and the Carnac barge, which sank near the Fremantle Traffic Bridge in 1940.
Farther south in Coogee, enthusiasts can learn about the bigger wrecks of James, an English ship that sank in 1830 after it was blown ashore in strong winds or the James Mathews, an ex-slave ship that struck rocks off Woodman Point and sank in 1841.
The Fremantle-based MAAWA’s Ian Warne said the app and website would allow the public to learn about the numerous registered shipwrecks in WA waters and would benefit tourists, pedestrians, boat users, divers and snorkelers.
‘The Maritime Archaeology shipwreck database holds information on 1500 WA shipwrecks, including the Batavia, SS Xantho and Zuytdorp and the new app has been launched with 50 wrecks in the Swan and Canning rivers, around Rottnest Island and along the Perth coast,’ he said.
‘Thirty years of dedicated shipwreck research by MAAWA members were in files and boxes and we wanted to bring history out of boxes and direct to the public.
‘There is a lot of information regarding the history and if available pictures of how the ship looked when it worked, and drawings, photographs of how the wreck looks underwater as well as the exact site location and nearby wrecks using Google maps.’
He said the MAAWA hoped the project could expand with locals donating old photographs and recounting stories of the early shipping industry.
Visit www.shipwreckswa.|com for more information.