Maritime Places

Victoria's Shipwreck Coast

The south west coast of Victoria on the Great Ocean Road between Cape Otway and the town of Warrnambool is one of the most rugged and scenic stretches of coastline in Australia. Feared by sailors of old, many of whom lost their lives and their ships on its rocky shores, it is today a magnet for tourists and sightseers.

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Australia's Most Famous Shipwrecks

Photo: Western Australian Museum

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, mainly because of their isolated locations.

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Coastal Encounters

Many pre-colonial explorers and navigators encountered the coastline of Australia on their journeys of discovery. In this series of articles we visit some of these locations and disover what happened there and what remains today.

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Abandoned Submarine Bases

During World War II, Germany built numerous concrete bunkers around its occupied territory to house bases for its u-boat fleets. After the war, the Soviet Union did the same around the coasts of its member nations. Today, these bases are abandoned, and because of their sheer size or remote locations, have never been demolished and perhaps never will be.

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Shipbuilding Yards

The Australian shipbuilding industry which had begun with the launch of the 10 ton Rose Hill Packet in 1789 continued to grow with the establishment of the Colonial Government's shipyard in 1797. The ship building industry, although active in various States, did not expand significantly until, in 1911, a naval ship building programme was introduced at Cockatoo Island.

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Shipbreaking Yards

A feature documentary profiling a bustling Indian shantytown where 40,000 people live and work in the most primitive conditions. Dismantling the rusting hulks of the world’s largest ships, the workers have no protection from injury or death. On average, one worker dies every day, some from explosions or falls, but many from cancers caused by asbestos, PCBs and other toxic substances. This visually stunning film vividly captures the haunting shells of decaying industrial machinery as well as the deplorable conditions of workers in 21st century global economics.

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