The Raine Island entrance: wreck traps and the search for a safe route through the Great Barrier Reef

Gibbs, Martin, and McPhee, Ewen (2004) The Raine Island entrance: wreck traps and the search for a safe route through the Great Barrier Reef. Great Circle: journal of the australian association of maritime history, 26 (2). pp. 24-54.

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[Extract] The Great Barrier Reef earned its name from the maze of barely visible reefs, featureless coral islands and difficult currents that made passage from the Coral Sea through to the inner coastal lagoon a dangerous and often fatal venture. Simply referred to as 'The Barrier' by early travellers, locating, proving and marking navigable passages through the reef were major concerns for colonial authorities eager to encourage trade to the north. In this paper, we examine these processes as they applied to the investigation of the 'Inner' and 'Outer' routes through and along the northern Great Barrier Reef, the development of the Raine Island Entrance and the construction of the stone beacon on the island. Particular attention is paid to the Raine Island region as a maritime cultural landscape and the notion that, despite-or perhaps because of-the perception of government sanctioned routes being less hazardous, these passages through the reef acted as 'ship traps', creating a focus for vessel losses within the region. This is examined through analysis of the nature and circumstances of the wrecking and post-wreck histories of the 37 shipwrecks identified by this study as situated within the Raine Island region (Map I).

Item ID: 13885
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0156-8698
Keywords: Great Barrier Reef; maritime archaeology; shipwrecks
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Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2010 06:40
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210110 Maritime Archaeology @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950399 Heritage not elsewhere classified @ 51%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 49%
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