Home' Ausmarine : July 2009 Contents UNFINISHED VOYAGES
Western Australian Shipwrecks
By GRAEME HENDERSON
The long coastline of Western Australia
is replete with shipwrecks. There
are probably still many unknown ones to
At first they were all Dutch ships. Mostly they were wrecked on
their outbound voyages from The Netherlands to Batavia and
other parts of the East Indies. Without chronometers, longitude
was rather a problem for them.
The arrival of French and British explorers and then British
colonists in the late eighteenth century changed the national
composition of the wrecks. Once the West Australian settlements
were established as a colony, the ships were almost all British even
if locally built.
The author is Australia's leading and best known marine
archaeologist who started in the trade at the age of 16. He knows
his subject and he also knows how to make it attractive to the
The shipwrecks are catalogued in a most attractive way
highlighted with first rate photographs and some good
contemporary lithographs. Excellent end notes and an extensive
bibliography makes further study easy.
A very useful reference, that is a pleasure to read for its own sake.
Available from University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, Australia.
A MILITARY HISTORY OF
AUSTRALIA (3RD EDITION)
By JEFFREY GREY
This highly refined book is valuable if only
for its brilliant bibliography. It, of course,
has many other attributes to the effect that
it is a first rate all-round reference for
anyone interested in an overall picture of
Australia's military history.
Published in 2008, this edition of the book is as up-to-date as it
is possible to be. Its comments on recent events such as the
'Tampa' affair, the 'SEIV X', former Defence Minister Peter Reith,
and the incarceration of David Hicks are important and
forthrightly dealt with.
Necessarily, the book is also a very useful political history of
Australia. The obviously close connection between politicians and
the military does not reflect well on many of Australia's
politicians, particularly ministers, in the period covered. They
continue to be a problem.
The author is relentlessly objective. The result is the fairest,
most all encompassing, hard hitting but balanced history this
reviewer has come across.
The disconcerting thing that comes out of this excellent book is
that Australia, its politicians and many of its peacetime military
commanders have learnt so little from history. They would
undoubtedly benefit from a careful study of Professor Grey's
Available from Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Australia.
July 2009 AUSMARINE
By MALCOLM DIPPY
and TONY STARKE
Taking over from where the old and much
lamented AMSA listing of Australian
vessels left off, this incredibly detailed and
carefully researched history shows the
benefits of a "free enterprise" approach.
Effectively, it is a very comprehensive listing of some 774
Australian flag vessels of greater than 100GT or 25 metres in length.
While it covers all kinds of work and cargo vessels, sadly there are
now only a handful of true cargo ships flying the Australian flag.
Nevertheless, this provides a snapshot or balance sheet of the
Australian flag fleet at May 2008. It is a great record of the nation's
working vessels including most of its tugs, ferries, excursion, sail
training, dredgers, dive-charter, ice-breaking, research, pearling and
many of its fishing craft. There are a total of 40 what could loosely be
called cargo vessels. They include FPSOs and bunker barges.
The compilers deserve great praise for what can truly only be
described as a labour-of-love.
A very valuable effort.
Available from Nautical Association of Australia, Caulfield, Australia.
THE VUNG TAU FERRY
(HMAS Sydney) and Escort
Ships (Vietnam 1965-1972)
By RODNEY NOTT & NOEL PAYNE
This book was published to right wrongs.
It has a very strong message.
That message is that, contrary to
conventional wisdom, the Royal Australian
Navy played a significant and continuing
role in the Vietnam War. This, the authors correctly contend, is
both unfair and ignorant.
The Australian Navy, in fact, performed a number of very
important roles in that misguided and much misrepresented war.
There were, for example, an RAN Clearance Diving team and the
RAN Vietnam Helicopter flight which provided sterling service.
Most obvious of all, though, and most unfairly ignored was the
"Vung Tau Ferry" itself, 'HMAS Sydney' and its various escorts.
They made 25 operational voyages supplying men and material to
the Australian force in Vietnam.
This unusual but interesting little book corrects those
many misconceptions. It is to be hoped that the histories of
another misguided war, this time in Iraq, will not require such
Available from Rosenberg Publishing, Kenthurst, Australia.
AUSTRALIAN BOATING MANUAL
By CAPT. DICK GANDY
Having also reviewed the previous three
editions of this now massive book, your
reviewer is well aware of how much work
and improvement has gone into this one.
While promoted to leisure sailors and
motor boat operators, this book is of equal
relevance to commercial operators of up to Master Class IV level
and to Marine Engine Drivers Grades 2 and 3. It also covers the
requirements of Yachtmaster and Coastal Skipper Certificates.
Obviously it is a vital text for anyone studying for any of those
certificates, but it also should be read and digested by anyone who
goes to sea in command in Australia for whatever reason.
Technology and techniques involving all marine activity keep
changing. This book is absolutely up-to-date and offers an easily
absorbed refresher course for even those who spend practically all
their lives at sea.
Available from Ocean Publications, Bayview, Australia.
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