Here is a list of sources that you may find useful in locating information on Australian shipwrecks.


Below are general books on Australian shipwrecks. You can also refer to these titles if you are researching particular wrecks but are not sure of dates and places.

The library also holds many other books on shipwrecks organised by state (see lists below) or concentrating on a particular locality (check the 910.4530994 area on the shelves).

For books on famous wrecks such as the Dunbar and Loch Ard check the library catalogue under the name of the ship. A research guide on the Dunbar shipwreck is available online.

Australian shipwrecks Vol. 1 1622-1850
Charles Bateson. Sydney. Reed, 1972
910.4530994 BAT

Australian shipwrecks Vol. 2 1851-1871
Jack Loney. Sydney. Reed, 1980
910.4530994 LON

Australian shipwrecks Vol. 3 1871-1900
Jack Loney. Geelong Vic: List Publishing, 1982
910.4530994 LON

Australian shipwrecks Vol. 4 1901-1986
Jack Loney. Portarlington Vic. Marine History Publications, 1987
910.4530994 LON

Australian shipwrecks Vol. 5 Update 1986
Jack Loney. Portarlington Vic. Marine History Publications, 1991
910.4530994 LON

An atlas history of Australian shipwrecks
Jack Loney. Sydney. Reed, 1981
910.4530994 LON
A general source with graphical representations of wreck locations around the Australian coast.

The encyclopedia of Australian shipwrecks and other maritime incidents, including vessels lost overseas, merchant ships lost at war, and those lost on inland waters, together with a bibliography of vessel entries
Peter Stone. Yarram Vic. Oceans Enterprises, 2006910.4530994 STO
This is a substantial volume on Australian shipwrecks which is fairly widely held in libraries across Australia.

New Zealand shipwrecks 1795-1970
C W N Ingram. 4th ed. Wellington. Reed, 1972
910.4530993 ING
A comprehensive primary source on New Zealand shipwrecks.

Shipwrecks: A Practical Guide to Research and Discovery
Peter Taylor. Newport : Scuttlebutt Press, Feb. 2013.
910.4530994 TAY

State-based titles

Here are a few more popular titles dealing with a particular State. Search the library catalogue for subjects “shipwrecks” and the name of state for a more comprehensive listing.

New South Wales

Wrecks of steamships in New South Wales 1836-1936
By Ronald Parsons. Magill SA. R.H. Parsons, 1982
910.45309944 PAR
A good source for NSW steamship wrecks.

Atlas of New South Wales wreck sites - 3rd edition
Sydney. Heritage Office of NSW, 1996
This useful title is on the library atlas stand

Shipwrecks, storms & seamen of the New South Wales Coast
Max Gleeson. Caringbah, N.S.W. : M. Gleeson, 1996
910.45309944 GLE

Destination never reached
Max Gleeson. Caringbah, NSW : Max Gleeson, c2004
910.45309944 GLE

The vanished fleet of the Sydney coastline
Max Gleeson. [Caringbah, N.S.W.] : M. Gleeson, 1993
910.45309944 GLE
3 books dealing with well known wrecks of the Sydney area.


Tasmanian shipwrecks. Vol. 1. 1797-1899. Vol. 2. 1900-1999
Graeme Broxham and Michael Nash. Woden, A.C.T. Navarine Publishing, 1998.
910.45309946 NAS
A two volume set containing substantial entries on Tasmanian wrecks.

South Australia

Shipwrecks in South Australia 1836-1899
Ronald Parsons. Lobethal, S.A. R. Parsons, 1998.
910.453099423 PAR

Western Australia

Unfinished voyages: Western Australian shipwrecks 1622-1850
Graeme Henderson. Nedlands, W.A. University of Western Australia Press, 1980.
910.45309941 HEN
This three volume set is the major reference source on Western Australian shipwrecks.

Unfinished voyages: Western Australian shipwrecks 1851-1880
Graeme Henderson and Kandy-Jane Henderson. Nedlands, W.A. University of Western Australia Press, 1988.
910.45309941 HEN

Unfinished voyages: Western Australian shipwrecks 1881-1900
Lynne Cairns and Graeme Henderson. Nedlands, W.A. University of Western Australia Press, 1995.
910.45309941 HEN

Northern Territory

Wrecks in Darwin waters
Tom Lewis. Wahroonga, N.S.W.Turton & Armstrong, 1992.
910.453099429 LEW

Wrecks on the Western Australian coast and Northern Territory
Jack Loney. Yarram, Vic. Lonestone Press, 1994.

910.45309941 LON


Wrecks on the Queensland coast 1791-1992
Jack Loney. Yarram, Vic. Lonestone Press, 1993.
910.45309943 LON
Includes Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Torres Strait, and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Wreck-ollections: ships and shipwrecks in Queensland waters
Lance Paterson. Moffat Beach, Qld. : L. Paterson, c2008
910.45309943 PAT

Looking to buy books? Shop online at the museum store.


State government agencies

To find more specific information on wrecks and their locations search the Australian National Shipwreck Database or contact the following state government agencies which are responsible for the management of shipwrecks. Each state produces web-based sources of information about the shipwrecks and shipwreck preservation in the state including databases, publications, published surveys, information sheets, heritage trails, information for divers, educational material and more.

The Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA) maintains a page of links to each state agency and also provides information such as what is maritime archaeology and a code of ethics for the practice of maritime archaeology in Australia.



The National Library’s Trove pictures search is the easiest way to start your search with pictures of ships and shipwrecks from all over Australia.

Ship illustrations are not very common, especially for the early immigrant ships in the days before popular photography. You may need to settle for a picture of a similar vessel. Our library research guide Pictures of ships in the Australian trade can help you locate images.



Contemporary newspaper reports are a good source of information about a wreck. It is often wise to check local newspapers as these may give more information than the larger metropolitan papers.

You can find news reports lists casualties findings of courts of marine inquiry into wrecks from the newspapers of the day.

Trove Australian newspapers online features digitised newspapers from each state and from small local titles to large metropolitan dailies. The period covered is 1803-1954. You can search or browse through them.

The Library also holds the following newspapers on microfilm:
  • Sydney Morning Herald (microfilm) 1833-1895
  • Argus (Melbourne) (microfilm) 1846-1895
  • Illustrated London News (microfilm) 1842-1890
  • Australasian Sketcher (microfilm) 1873-1889
  • Illustrated Sydney News (microfilm) 1853-1894
  • Daily Commercial News (microfilm) 1895-1920
  • Australasian Shipping News (microfilm) 1877-1900


Wrecks and casualties concerning Australia and New Zealand
Compiled by Ronald Parsons
This is an alphabetical index to wrecks and casualties which Mr Parsons has compiled and published as a regular section in the Australian Shipping Record from Volume 6 (1975) to Volume 22, no.3 (1991).

Battye index (microfiche).
Perth. State Library Service of Western Australia,



Some recommended online sources

The Federal Government's Australian National Shipwreck Database is a very good first point of inquiry and enables you to search by date, state, location or ship name.

The Heritage Office of New South Wales's Maritime Heritage Online web portal is an excellent source for research on NSW shipwrecks as it contains a mine of information.

The National Archives is also recommended more detailed research requirements as it holds collections of records relating to Shipwrecks and Marine Courts of Inquiry access is through their collection search.

NSW State Records holds records relating to shipwrecks and Courts of Marine Inquiry. See Archives in Brief 56: Shipwrecks for details of these holdings.

The Western Australian Museum website is a great source of information on maritime archaeology research and WA shipwrecks.