Unearthing South Australia’s Oldest Known Shipwreck: The Bark 'South Australian' (1837)

James W. Hunter, Kieran Hosty, Rick Bullers, Irini Malliaros, Adam Paterson, Chris Wilson, Tim Zapor, Katarina Jerbic, Wendy van Duivenvoorde

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In early 2018, a collaborative team composed of maritime archaeologists, museum specialists, and volunteers from the South Australian Department for Environment and Water, South Australian Maritime Museum, Silentworld Foundation, Australian National Maritime Museum, MaP Fund, and Flinders University surveyed for and located the shipwreck site of the bark South Australian. Lost at Rosetta Harbor (at the western end of modern-day Encounter Bay) in December 1837, South Australian is South Australia’s oldest documented shipwreck. Its significance also derives from its use as one of the earliest immigration ships to ferry European settlers to the colony of South Australia, as well as careers as a postal packet and “cutting-in” vessel for shore-based whaling activities. South Australian’s historical background is addressed, as are efforts to locate and confirm the identity of its wreck site via archaeological investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-125
Number of pages31
JournalHistorical Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • South Australia
  • shipwreck
  • immigration
  • postal packet
  • whaling
  • Victor Harbor
  • Aboriginal whalers
  • colonial history
  • Ngarrindjeri


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