Iron Ore Wharf Darwin

Steelcon Construction

Darwin, Australia
2008 - 2009


When demolition works began on the Iron Ore Wharf at Port Darwin, Steelcon Construction contracted Cosmos Archaeology to undertake an underwater archaeological survey prior to the removal of the wharf piles. 

The survey was conducted by a combined team of maritime archaeologists and commercial divers, uncovering ballast mounds and other artefacts including bottles, that were most likely associated with the late 1860s and 70s anchorage for the newly-established settlement of Darwin.  Material culture, mostly identified as glass drink containers associated with World War II, was also found.  Wartime structures including the Boom Wharf and Naval Refitting Jetty were located adjacent to the study area.  The M.V. Blue Bird, which was wrecked during Cyclone Tracy, rests upside down against cut-off piles at the site. This underwater cultural landscape is significant as it is associated with some of the most integral events of Darwin’s history – its founding and first decades, World War II and Cyclone Tracy.

The assessed impact to the archaeological resource from the demolition process was deemed to be minimal, with Cosmos Archaeology providing a range of recommendations to protect the archaeological resource during the works process.