The Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Project has been awarded a large ARC (Australian Research Council) Linkage grant (LP110200184) to investigate the excavation, reburial and in-situ preservation of wrecks and their associated artefacts, which are considered to be at risk.

This project will focus on Clarence (1850), a historically significant colonial wooden trading vessel located in Victorian internal waters near St Leonards in Port Phillip. The overarching theoretical focus will be on shipwreck site formation models and the project brings together the disciplines of behavioural archaeology, maritime archaeology, conservation sciences and maritime object conservation.

Statement of Significance

  1. Clarence is the oldest and best preserved wreck of an Australia built coastal trading vessel yet located in Victorian waters.
  2. Clarence is an example of early Australian shipbuilding methods which, through archaeological analysis of its remains, will yield information pertinent to a poorly documented area of Australian history.

 from Coroneos 1991.

Heritage Victoria (HV) – which is part of the Victorian state government’s Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure – DTPLI – has management oversight of Clarence. HV has provided legacy and ongoing research on the wreck, its environment, condition and significance and administers the protected area. Heritage Victoria is providing the survey vessel Trim, Senior Maritime Archaeologist Peter Harvey who has carried out 27 years of research on Clarence and is hosting the Project Manager.

Professional Diving Services as the Platinum Sponsor for the Clarence Project is providing overall diving operations support, expertise in underpinning maritime operations including wreck inspection, survey and on-platform artefact processing, storage and examination and have provided significant in kind support from proprieter/owner Malcolm Venturoni and Dive Operations Supervisor James Parkinson. Professional Diving Services has considerable in house maritime archaeology expertise and has contributed decadal support to the management of maritime heritage of Victoria. This work includes in-situ preservation of the City of Launceston (1865) and HMVS Cerberus at Half Moon Bay. The Clarence Project could not have proceeded without their support