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19th-Century Shipwreck Studied in Southern Australia

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Australia Shipwreck KeelRYE, AUSTRALIA—According to a statement from Flinders University, an international team of researchers investigated the wreck of the Barbara, which sank near the coast of southeastern Australia in 1853. The Barbara was constructed in Tasmania in 1841 to carry lime for brickmaking, which was an early industry practiced in southern Australia. Analysis of wood samples revealed the ship was built from timbers grown in Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmanian blue gum, a type of eucalyptus tree. “This is possibly the first time such a wide variety of timbers have been found in an Australian built vessel,” said Wendy Van Duivenvoorde of Flinders University. “It indicates that early shipbuilders had developed a detailed knowledge of the properties of indigenous timbers appropriate for shipbuilding.” Analysis of metal and fiber samples taken from the wreck is still underway, she added. To read about excavations at a nineteenth-century prison in the suburbs of Melbourne, go to "Alone, but Closely Watched."

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