DEWNR Fieldwork–Carpenter “Rocks!!!”

Date: 27 November–­4 December 2014

Staff/Volunteers: Amer Khan (DEWNR); Simon Carter (DEWNR); Kurt Bennett (Flinders University Volunteer); Daniel Petraccaro (Flinders University Volunteer), Guy Williams (DEWNR); Anthony Virag (DEWNR); Dr Brad Duncan (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage); and David Hanna (DEWNR).

Anthony Virag 2

Figure 1: Preparing for snorkel on Hawthorn. Courtesy of Anthony Virag. 28.11.14.

Anthony Virag

Figure 2: Preparing for Diving. Courtesy of Anthony Virag. 28.11.14.

Staff and volunteers from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DENWR), NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and Flinders University Archaeology Department are prepared for an exciting week of relocating historic shipwrecks along South Australia’s southeast coast. The location is Carpenter Rocks and the weather is forecast for great diving conditions—20 degrees Celsius, low wind and calm sea conditions! It took eight hours for two cars, two boats (Yambo and Rapid) a trailer and a truck to travel to our destination from Adelaide

Brad Duncan2

Figure 3: Amer Khan ready for diving. Photo courtesy of Brad Duncan. 27.11.14.

The first shipwreck of interest is Hawthorn, a 20m, Australian built ketch (1876), which was provisionally declared in 2013. We are looking to undertake a site assessment to determine if the remains of the shipwreck should be declared as a historic shipwreck (Section 5, Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976). During the early morning on day two, the survey began with Daniel and Kurt in the water; they had the responsibility to relocate Hawthorn and mark the engine with a buoy. After Brad and Simon set up the baseline, everyone was keen to commence a baseline offset survey. The wreck is exposed in 0.5 – 1m of water. The centreboard, starboard frames, keelson, engine and fly wheel are visible. Other identifiable features include portside frames, portside planking and upper port works.


Figure 4: All staff and Volunteers at Bucks Bay, Carpenter Rocks. Photo Courtesy of Brad Duncan. 27.11.14.


Figure 5: Daniel and Brad record the starboard frames. Photo courtesy of Amer Khan. 27.11.14.

The Hawthorn survey continued the next day with clear skies, warm weather and low swell. As Daniel and Kurt recorded the portside, Amer and Brad used an “inversion dredge” to expose the bow section. Rather than creating a suction, as is the case with a venturi dredge, the “inversion dredge” directs a flow of water through a narrow pipe for a controlled removal of sand from parts of the buried shipwreck. We were joined by Carl and Garry von Stanke who had previously identified and reported Hawthorn in 2012. We then uncovered parts of the keelson and recorded the exposed timber structure using the baseline offset method. Ninety minutes later and the task was done! Thanks to our coxwains Guy and Anthony for their undivided supervision!


Figure 6: Kurt recording the bow section. Photo courtesy of Daniel Petraccaro. 28.11.14.

Stay in tune over the next couple of days as we continue to search for ‘another’ shipwreck in Carpenter Rocks!

Kurt Bennett and Daniel Petraccaro.


Australian Government. Australian Shipwreck Act. 1976. Accessed 28/11/14.


7 responses to “DEWNR Fieldwork–Carpenter “Rocks!!!”

  1. kurtbennettnz

    ABC News is also following this project—

  2. danielpetraccaro

    ABC News is also following this project—

  3. Pingback: Around the Archaeology Blog-o-sphere Digest #11 | Doug's Archaeology

  4. Great work team – can’t wait to find out what the mysterious unknown wreck is…

  5. We are following your good work closely from 1 Richmond Road, Keswick. Great blog! Hope you get good diving conditions for the remainder of the week. Cheers.

  6. Pingback: An Anchor and Pisces Star: DEWNR Southeast Coast Shipwreck Survey, SA | Flinders Archaeology Blog