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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 7

I The First 100 Years 1788-1888

II Railways

III Motorised Vehicles

IV Aviation

V Modern Shipping

VI Innovative Small Craft
i Salvage

VII Conclusion

VIII Acknowledgements

IX Contributors



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As a subset of shipping it is appropriate that mention be made of Australia's contribution to marine salvage and salvage techniques. Few adventure stories can equal the salvage of 2,360,000 pounds worth of gold bars from the RMS Niagara in 1940 by The United Salvage Pty. Ltd. Locating the Niagara 100 nautical miles from Auckland New Zealand in 438 feet of water in a mine infested area was difficult enough, but the ingenuity and dedication of Sir John Williams and his associates in their year-long opening of the Niagara and ultimate salvage of the gold is one of the great feats of marine salvage.

In 1941 the Commonwealth Marine Salvage Board was formed and a number of wrecks caused through misadventure or war action were dealt with. Of 86 vessels on which work was started, 83 were restored to service. A notable feat was the removal from Wyndham Wharf of Kodam which was lying on her side blocking other vessels. This was accomplished with a battery of compressors which buoyed the vessel upside down and permitted the vessel to be floated away from the wharf.[8]

Other notable salvages include removal of the wreck of the 8,000 ton passenger and cargo ship Santhia which had capsized and sunk in the Hooghly River in India blocking part of the Port of Calcutta. This salvage was completed by J. P. Williams and Associates as was the task of clearing of the Irrawaddy River in Burma of numerous wrecks sealing up the main berth in the port after World War II.

In the late 1960s salvage of parts of HMAS Perth and USS Houston, sunk in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra was successfully undertaken by Australian salvage contractors. In recent times Australian salvage operators have turned to the use of advanced technologies in detection and reclamation methods, including the extensive operation of helicopters.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Commonwealth Marine Salvage Board; J. P. Williams and Associates; The United Salvage Pty Ltd

People in Bright Sparcs - Colquhoun, Alan R.; Williams, Sir John

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 526 - 527, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher