• Slide 1
    Troopships departure Fremantle 1915
    Civilians crowd the wharf to farewell Australian Imperial Force (AIF) troops aboard the transport ship Suevic (A29), Fremantle 1915. (Image: E.L. Mitchell / Australian War Memorial)
  • Slide 2
    SS Great Britain was the first ocean-going ship with a screw propeller, and the largest ship afloat when built in 1843. Between 1852 and 1876 it made 32 round trips between Britain and Australia carrying an estimated 15,000 immigrants.
  • Slide 3
    Aboriginal seagoing rolled reed or bark canoes at Schouten Island, Tasmania observed by the French Baudin expedition, 1803. (Artist: Charles Alexandre Lesueur)
  • Slide 1
    Troopships departure Fremantle 1915
    Civilians crowd the wharf to farewell Australian Imperial Force (AIF) troops aboard the transport ship Suevic (A29), Fremantle 1915. (Image: E.L. Mitchell / Australian War Memorial)
  • Slide 2
    SS Great Britain was the first ocean-going ship with a screw propeller, and the largest ship afloat when built in 1843. Between 1852 and 1876 it made 32 round trips between Britain and Australia carrying an estimated 15,000 immigrants.
  • Slide 3
    Aboriginal seagoing rolled reed or bark canoes at Schouten Island, Tasmania observed by the French Baudin expedition, 1803. (Artist: Charles Alexandre Lesueur)

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What is maritime history

Maritime history is the study of people and their activities in, on, around and under the waters of the world, from the great oceans to inland waters. Australian maritime history includes Indigenous ‘deep time’ history, as Australian First Nations people made the world’s first sea crossings from Southeast Asia (known as ‘Sunda’) to Australia (‘Sahul’) some 65,000 years before present (BP) when sea levels were 125 metres lower than today – a minimum voyaging distance of 90 kilometres. During human occupation of Australia, rising sea levels flooded over 2 million square kilometres of the now submerged continental shelf between 19,000 to 7,000 BP, significantly impacting First Nations peoples’ culture and territories, and drowning their coastal archaeological record.

For this first chapter of Australia’s incredible maritime history, First Nations peoples have carefully maintained knowledge passed down through generations of ancestors about sea level rise events thousands of years ago, communicating their experiences and histories orally, and through rock art, while archaeological discoveries both on land and underwater are providing further detailed information. More

Message from the President

Welcome to the AAMH website! Australia’s maritime history is rich and diverse, encompassing a wide range of cultures and communities. It offers the most amazing stories ranging from Indigenous deep-time oral histories of sea-level rise, to the experiences of recent immigrants. It is relevant and contemporary – maritime history is being made every day, and we see the importance of international maritime issues that affect us, our environment and economy in our daily news. Maritime history is found in books, museums, oral histories, cultural practices and traditions, rock art, images, historic vessels and shipbuilding, maritime archaeology, and the maritime cultural landscapes and seascapes that surround us. Our aim at AAMH is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of our incredible maritime history – we hope you enjoy it!

Dr Ross Anderson President of The Australian Association for Maritime History

Alan Frost wins National Book Prize

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