The Great Circle


The Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History contains articles (often illustrated) and book reviews. It attracts articles from both within Australia and overseas and has established a high scholarly reputation.

THE GREAT CIRCLE is a refereed journal and is published twice a year (June and December) by the Australian Association for Maritime History (ABN 47 244 526 977; ISSN 0156-8698).

A great circle is the intersect of a sphere and a plane going through the centre of that sphere. The shortest distance between two places on earth is represented by the great circle that links them together. Although the geographical and climatological conditions of the earth prevent shipping from following a great circle course for any long distance, the concept is of the greatest importance for ocean-going navigation. Particularly during the heyday of the sailing clippers, masters deviated as little as possible from these magic lines on their charts. As such, THE GREAT CIRCLE symbolises the significance of Australia's maritime links with overseas and indicates the aim of the association to promote the development of Maritime History. Figuratively, THE GREAT CIRCLE expresses also its second objective: to encompass all individuals and groups interested in whatever aspect of Maritime History, both in Australia and abroad.

The five diagrams on the back cover (courtesy of Rolf Krackowizer) illustrate some of the ships of significance to Australian and global maritime history: a Dutch East-Indiaman (c. 1700), the barque Parmelia (1825-39), a typical four-masted barque (c. 1900), a British battlecruiser of World War I, and the German containership Sydney Express (1970).

In the current issue of The Great Circle:

  1. A Brief Dampier Chronology
  2. M. McCarthy, 300 Years On: The Search for William Dampier and his Elusive Ship
  3. R.T.Sexton, Building their Majesties’ Ship Roebuck
  4. Alex George, William Dampier as a Natural Historian
  5. Gary C. Williams, The Historical Context and Influence of William Dampier’s Hydrographic Science
  6. Kim Ackerman, A Review of the Indigenous Watercraft of the Kimberley Region, Western Australia

plus reviews of recent publications on William Dampier. Members receive The Great Circle free, a small number of this special issue is for sale at $25 (Aust Post included). Contact us via email to order a copy.


In the previous issue of the Great Circle:

  • GARE, Deborah: A Book of Empires The Journal of the Mary Ann Friend, 1829-31
  • Van WAARDEN, Betto: Trials and Tribulations of Transfer: Issac Tisingh and the Transfer of Knowledge from Japan to Europe in the late Eighteenth Century
  • MULLUMBY, Mathew: Ship to Shore: George Grey's Epic Coastal Explorations in Western Australia 1837-39
  • FOSTER, Leonie: Shipwrecks and the White Australia Policy

Become a member to receive the Great Circle (and get the Quarterly Newsletter)

Click here to view the Index.

General Editor: Dr Michael McCarthy, WA Museum and Adjunct Professor Notre Dame University
Book Reviews Editor: Dr Howard Gray
Production Editor: Dr Ian Chambers
Editorial Board:
Steve Mullins, Central Queensland University
Stephan Petrow, University of Tasmania
Sarah Palmer, Greenwich Maritime Institute
Timothy Runyan, Program in Maritime Studies East Carolina University
Lewis R. Fischer, Department of History Memorial University of Newfoundland
David Stevens, Sea Power Centre Canberra
Mark Staniforth, Flinders University

All contributions to and correspondence about The Great Circle should be sent to the General Editor.
Michael McCarthy
Shipwreck Galleries
Cliff Street
Fremantle 6160
[email protected]

Guidelines for Contributors:
Normal literary and typographical conventions will apply to all contributions. Prospective authors should ensure that their typescripts are in principle ready to go to press.

Any material submitted for inclusion in The Great Circle should be typed in double spacing, on an A4-size paper, with a wide margin. The maximum length of articles is normally 8,000 words, but longer articles may be accepted for publication in two parts. Major articles may conveniently be divided in sub-sections; these may be headed by Roman numerals and/or sub-titles. Contributors should email a copy of their article to [email protected]. The preferred format is Microsoft Word saved as .doc or .rtf.

Footnotes must be numbered consecutively throughout the article and presented, in traditional style only, preferably at the foot of each page. In footnotes, titles of books and journals should be underlined or typed in italics. Second and further references to work already cited should be made in the form of an easily recognizable abbreviation of the first complete reference. No underlining or italics should be used for reference to manuscript material or unpublished works.

Quotations should be presented within single quotes '.....'. Foreign words and names of ships should be in italics.

Tables, graphs, maps, photographs, and other illustration material may be provided. The size of the printed page must be borne in mind, and all material should be readily reproduceable.

Authors are requested to state in writing, when forwarding articles, that, where necessary, they have permission to use copyright material and to reproduce illustrations.