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Turquoise Bend: Collaborative Archaeology on Private Land

January 12, 2018

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The Ancient History of Thistle Cove, Cultural Connections, and the Search for the Mountaineer Shipwreck (1835)

December 9, 2019

 Join us on an expedition to uncover the cultural history, marine ecology, and maritime history of Thistle Cove, Cape Le Grand National Park, Western Australia. 


December, 2020


 Join our team of Traditional Owners, maritime archaeologists, and professional surveyors to embark on a collaborative expedition to Thistle Cove – a place of remarkable ancient connection, biodiversity, and maritime history.  


Thistle Cove area is known culturally as Mandoowernup (the place of where the sun shines on the dead man) – a place of immense cultural significance to the Traditional Owners. Cultural mapping work here has documented hundreds of cultural places, features and archaeological sites, that collectively, document aspects of the integrated cultural landscape. Thistle Cove itself contains many archaeological sites, and we know that the Traditional Owners observed the The Mountaineer (1835) shipwreck survivors over those ten days that they were stranded on the beach.


The Mountaineer was a 23-ton cutter involved in sealing and trading with sealers in Bass Strait, Kangaroo Island and Spencer Gulf in South Australia.  In January 1835 the Mountaineer was on a return voyage from Albany, Western Australia, when it was wrecked while anchored during a strong gale at Thistle Cove, Cape Le Grand.  All the crew and passengers survived, and after spending ten days on the beach, made their way to Middle Island, as the closest known settlement.  This island was the base operations for the infamous American sealer - Jack Anderson. 


The Mountaineer is a great story about cultural contact between Europeans and Nyungar People – and this event represents the first time Europeans trod that part of the coast between Cape Arid and Albany. The court documents of the time related to the indiscretions of Jack Anderson are the only source of information about activities in the Archipelago of the Recherche at that time.  Here, our team will explore the incredible connection and continuity between deep, ancient history, the contact period and the present day – with a collaborative study of Thistle Cove.