Research and Data
One of the key objectives of the Foundation is to greatly increase the depth of knowledge of important shipwrecks in Australia and related waters, as well as improving the public’s access to this knowledge. While databases such as the National Shipwrecks Database, the Encyclopaedia of Australian Shipwrecks and other similar compilations provide statistical summaries of known wrecks they tell one very little other than the basic details of the vessel and its loss. Crucial information such as the precise location, who has investigated the site and when, what artefacts were found and what happened to these items, what scientific documenting of the wreck site and any artefacts found has been undertaken, and the background to the wreck event itself, are rarely mentioned.
To answer these questions the researcher has to troll through numerous sources and in the case of unknown wrecks, there is virtually no information recorded at all, both in the case of unknown wreckage that has not been attributed to a particular vessel or conversely where a ship has simply disappeared and no-one knows where it was lost.
The Silentworld Foundation is seeking to answer some of these questions and is trying to build a comprehensive database and repository of knowledge in respect of its particular area of focus being Australia’s Pre-Colonial and Colonial Period up to around 1820.