Our Latest News

Fly Neighbourly Advice for the Tasman National Park


Public comment is invited on the draft Tasman National Park Fly Neighbourly Advice. The draft Fly Neighbourly Advice has been prepared by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service in response to increasing air traffic over the Tasman National Park.More

Hybrid diesel-electric shuttle buses at Cradle Mountain - a first for National p


When you next visit Cradle Mountain you will be able to step aboard one of the new hybrid, diesel-electric, shuttle buses on your trip to Dove Lake. These new buses will reduce emissions and deliver a quieter, all mobility friendly, visitor experience.More

AFAC Independent Operational Review of the 2018-19 bushfires


Following the 2018-19 bushfires the Tasmanian Government commissioned an independent report by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Council to review the overall response and identify areas where more can be done to improve the State's response andMore

The Sydney Cove

Shipwreck Survivors Camp

Excavationas at the north end of the island

Excavations at the northern end of the site

While the survivors of the Sydney Cove spent up to 12 months on Preservation Island little archaeological work was carried out on the land site until quite recently. In November 2002 a team from the Parks and Wildlife Service and Flinders University, Adelaide, relocated the site with the help of an original chart drawn by Lieutenant Matthew Flinders. A scatter of surface material and a large number of ‘hits’ from a metal detector confirmed the existence of the camp located on a high point overlooking the wreck and cargo storage area.

A total of seven squares measuring 2m x 2m were subsequently excavated to a relatively shallow depth. These revealed many items that had previously been located on the wreck site, including earthenware ceramics and porcelain, glass

bottles and other cargo items. Of particular interest was the recovery of a very large collection of animal and bird bones giving a useful insight into the crew’s diet. The bones were mostly from the short tailed shearwater or ‘mutton bird’ that bred upon the island in large numbers. The crew were also eating other wildlife such as wallabies and wombats as well as using some of the salted meat carried as cargo.

Excavations of the site

Archaeologist recording the remnants
of a brick hearth

Evidence was also found of the actual dwelling itself in the form of two upright posts made from ship’s timbers, and the remains of a brick hearth. The hearth had been constructed with bricks removed from the ship’s galley stove. Other parts of the ship such as iron fastenings and copper alloy sheathing tacks had also been used in the construction of the dwelling. Although there is historical evidence that survivor’s camps were built after a number of early shipwreck disasters there has been very little research done on the subject. The work on the Sydney Cove land site has helped to develop an archaeological model for survivor’s camps that might usefully be applied to other sites.

Further Information

Nash, M., 2005. Investigation of a survivor camp from the Sydney Cove shipwreck. Bulletin of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, 29: 9-24. Download as PDF [3.6MB].