As an island nation, shipwrecks are a very important part of Australia's rich maritime heritage. It is ironic that Australia's oldest shipwrecks are often the least known, often because of their isolated locations. Western Australia's coastline is a treasure trove of maritime heritage and is the resting place of Australia's oldest shipwrecks. Many were ships of the Dutch East India Company, whose ships plyed their trade between The Netherlands and the East Indies (Indonesia, The Phillipines, Malaysia).
Entering the Indian Ocean around the Cape of Good Hope on their outward journey, may took advantage of the "Roaring Forties" trade wind which could cut days and sometimes weeks off their journey, but often blew them onto the inhospitable shores of what became known as New Holland.
A lot of Australian beaches have colonial era shipwrecks that have been blown ashore and all the top parts disintegrate in the surf but the lower part can be quite well preserved in the sand. These ships were carrying an incredible amount of merchandise and everything needed for the colony in the early days. The government, the people and the traders were waiting for their consignments, so it was a huge disaster and a pretty small community at that time too so they definitely had a massive impact.
Colonial and Post Shipwrecks
There have been literally thousands of ships of various sizes that have come to grief on Australia's shore since the colony of New South Wales was founded on 26th January 1788 at Sydney Cove. These are some of the most notable.