Previous archaeology

In September 1982 members of the Maritime Archaeological Association of Victoria (MAAV) located a shipwreck in the Coles channel of Port Phillip Bay some three hundred meters offshore at a depth of approximately four meters of water.  Subsequent research in 19th century Port Phillip newspapers for contemporary reports of shipwrecks in the area was carried out by MAAV members Tony Boardman and Terry Arnott.

Soon after the discovery of the wreck a number of inspection dives were carried out by the MAAV in conjunction with the Victoria Archaeological Survey’s Maritime Archaeological Unit.  (VAS/MAU)  Subsequent research by the MAU indicated that the site was the earliest and best-preserved example of an Australian-built trading vessel yet located in Victoria.  A test excavation of the Clarence was done by MAU in 1987. Very little of the wreck was dug up as most of the ship is extremely fragile and they did not want to risk damaging the ship.