Historic wreck under threat

A HISTORIC shipwreck exposed by storms at Belongil last month is walking away, piece by piece.

Wreck at Belongil.
Wreck at Belongil. Contributed

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage historic branch director Petula Samios said the wreck had become something of a tourist attraction since it was unearthed by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald and there were now reports of people taking pieces of it away as souveneirs.

"The wreck is a protected historic shipwreck under both the Commonwealth and State law and survives as a fragile part of our maritime archaeological heritage," Ms Samios said.

"The remains, which are exposed within the beach sands of Belongil Beach on Byron Bay's main foreshore, have become a local tourist attraction and we are concerned by reports that some people are carrying away timbers and copper alloy fastenings from the exposed timber hull.

DID YOU KNOW? There are 215 known shipwrecks on Northern Rivers alone? Click here for more information on shipwrecks. 

"It is an offence to damage the archaeological site and associated relics, or to remove anything from the wreck site.

"Penalties up to $1.1m or six months jail can apply."

While the identity of the wrecked ship remained a mystery, Ms Samios said it was believed to be one of four vessels wrecked at Byron during "huge gales" that hit the area in July, 1889.

"In total seven vessels were lost from Byron Bay south to Coffs Harbour during the 1889 storm event," she said.

"The wreck comprises the lower hull of a sailing vessel with outer hull planking and internal frames exposed for about 30 metres in length.

"The hull contains both timber and copper alloy fastenings and copper sheathing (thin plates) that protected the hull, making a mid-late nineteenth century date most likely.

"The discovery provides another glimpse into the fascinating maritime history of our State. These sites form a part of the fabric of our coastal and riverine communities and deserve to be preserved and for their stories to be remembered."

Ms Samios said maritime archologists from the office, aided by staff from the Cape Byron Marine Park, had been monitoring the wreck since its unearthing was reported by Byron Bay resident Greg Thompson and the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum.

Topics:  belongil shipwreck storms tourism weather

Tweed election offers field of dreams

Pre-poll voting in the Tweed Shire Council election will continue this week.

Tweed voters eye change as candidates line up for election

Greens fight and fuss but shark nets are coming

The NSW Government has vowed to reintroduce old-style mesh shark nets to North Coast beaches.

Mesh shark nets almost certain to arrive at North Coast beaches

Killer Dreamworld conveyor belt almost drowned man

The system and ride was investigated by Workplace Queensland

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: Jack Reacher sequel falls flat

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

THE film's title Never Go Back should serve as a warning to fans.

The Bachelor contestants find love with each other

Former Bachelor contestants Megan Marx and Tiffany Scanlon have confirmed their relationship on social media.

MEGAN Marx and Tiffany Scanlon confirm relationship on Instagram.

Liam Payne wants to wed Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Liam Payne

Liam Payne reportedly wants to marry Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Bindi Irwin 'honoured' to make MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Len Wiseman files for divorce from Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale

Len Wiseman has filed for divorce from Kate Beckinsale

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June