Newsletter #1. June 2020

Dear Members,

Firstly, a very big WELCOME to everyone and thank you for your patience waiting for this first Newsletter!

The last 5 to 6 months have been very busy applying for Incorporation Certification, Not for Profit status and working on a co-operative approach with Parks Victoria, Heritage Victoria and the Bass Coast Shire. We have also had the rapid erosion issues on our coastline biting at our heels. We have made several Grant applications and have another underway at the present time for a conservation project.

There was very disappointing footage this month, which gave viewers the impression that people were digging at the Amazon ship wreck site. The only people who will ever do any digging at the Amazon site will be Heritage Victoria Maritime Archaeologists.

The site is protected under Heritage Legislation and it is an offence to disturb the site, damage or remove any objects. In fact it is probably best not to dig anywhere on the Surf Beach with a metal shovel!

Heritage Victoria has a difficult job, a balancing act managing such sites. In our case, we want to share, inform and educate people about the Amazon but not encourage pilfering or vandalism. Hopefully the little children’s book to be published later this year which is aimed at primary age children will also help educate adults as well to appreciate and protect this valuable Inverloch asset.

We have been very fortunate to be introduced to a wonderful conservator referred to us by Heritage Victoria. Her expertise, knowledge and experience in the preservation of wooden ships has been invaluable and she has been extremely giving of her time.

At present Heritage Victoria, Parks Victoria Wonthaggi, our specialist conservator and the Amazon 1863 Project Inc. Committee are working together on a conservation plan for the Amazon shipwreck.

The Stem

On 3rd May, about 30 cm of sand was eroded from the Wreck site revealing new information. Heritage Victoria have confirmed that what we thought was the Keel of the ship is in fact now the Stem. The Amazon wreck is a very exciting story and we believe more will be revealed over the winter months.

Wreck Exposed

Imagine, looking at the wreck and facing west, you are viewing the Apron and its surrounding structures. The knee in the diagram was the large structure up on the sand near No 1 Walkway which became detached mid January. The keel would have been behind you with the ribs which were seen a few weeks ago and they would have been joined to the keel. Segments of handrail were also visible in line with our imaginary keel.

Looking west, ribs in foreground, stem/apron in the sand at the rear of picture

Site visit by Heritage Vic

Heritage Victoria visited the Amazon site on Friday 8th May at first light to photograph the site and photogrammetry was undertaken by Maritime Archaeologist Liam Phillips.

Peter Harvey, Senior Maritime Archaeologist Heritage Victoria at work
Maritime Archaeologist Liam Phillips.

Australia Day Exhibition

In January, on the Australia Day long week-end the Amazon 1863 Project Inc. was privileged to join the Inverloch Historical Society exhibition in the Inverloch Hub for the Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta celebrations. Proof of further collaboration between local groups, the Inverloch Historical Society allowed us to use some of their posters for our small but inviting display. The Committee was amazed with the interest it generated.

Australia Day 2020 exhibit

At rather short notice the Committee was able to present a reasonable display with some artefacts in cabinets, a beautiful sheet of copper ‘Muntz’ complete with stamp, some examples of 3 masted barques similar to the Amazon and an array of photographs of the shipwreck. Thank you to all who contributed to this event.

Children’s Book

Amazon 1863 Project Inc. Committee is thrilled to announce that it has been successful in a Bass Coast Shire Grant application and look forward to publishing a primary school age children’s book later in the year. Karyn has had a ‘peek’ at the project and is extremely excited about the progress to date.

Facebook

Don’t forget to keep up to date on our Facebook page : Amazon 1863 Project

Meeting?

The Amazon 1863 Project Inc. Committee is planning a meeting where all Members will be invited to attend. Potentially this will take place in 2 months time depending on Covid 19 restrictions. Stay tuned!

Stay healthy, and once again, on behalf of the Committee, thank you for your support!

Karyn Bugeja, Secretary, Amazon 1863 Project Inc.