Exhibition explores 400 years of Australian shipwreck history.

Submerged – Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks  delves into 14 wrecks, from one of the earliest in 1629 to a much more recent mishap off South Australia in 1974.

The SEEN@Swansea exhibition opens Saturday 7 December and is presented by the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Vessel Scotch Queen launched at Swansea ~ Australian Maritime Museum

Lake Macquarie City Council Lifelong Learning and Engagement Coordinator Jess Dowdell said tales of five Lake Mac shipwrecks had been added to the exhibition’s local leg.

One outlines the wreck of the 65-ton schooner Catherine Hill in 1867, which gave present day Catherine Hill Bay its name.

Another details the lesser-known wreck of the Scotch Queen, near the entrance of Lake Macquarie in December 1919.

“This weekend’s launch of Submerged marks almost exactly 100 years since the Scotch Queen came to grief,” Ms Dowdell said.

“Seven people drowned that day. Adding to the tragedy, five of those lost had just returned from World War I. To have survived the horrors of war, only to drown in a terrible accident must have been a difficult reality for their loved ones to bear.”

Australia’s coast is believed to be the final resting place of more than 11,000 ships – roughly equal to one wreck for every three kilometres of coast.

Included in the exhibition are the Batavia, lost off the West Australian coast in 1629, and the Fijian fishing trawler Degei, which struck rocks on a reef off South Australia in 1974.

Ms Dowdell said the exhibition also explored wrecks of merchant vessels, trawlers, whalers and the submarine HMAS AE2, lost off Turkey during WWI and rediscovered in 1998.

The exhibition, assisted by the Australian Government Visions of Australia program, is open until 26 January. Admission is by gold coin donation. SEEN@Swansea is open daily, 10am-3pm.