Celestial Bodies & Equine Trade

In January 2015 maritime archaeologists went searching in two remote locations for some more of our sunken maritime heritage. Here is why.


Ashmore Reef, now home to some 35 shipwrecks. One of these was chanced upon by the crew of HMAS Benalla in 2014 when they were undertaking a survey of a section of reef. In January 2015, a collaborative project with the Australian National Maritime Museum, took the team out to this remote region with precise location information provided by the crew of Benalla to investigate the wreck site.

What did they find?

Hydrabad, a 602 tonne, three masted ship owned by Duncan Dunbar, was converted to carry horses specifically for the trade that sprung up between New South Wales and India. While on a voyage with over 100 Walers (stallions bred in New South Wales) and passenger on board, the captain was forced by the winds to take less a less familiar route.

What happened?