Topics > Heritage > Maritime heritage > Register of Historic Shipwrecks

Guide to using the AUCHD for shipwreck research (search options)

The AUCHD allows you to search on virtually any of the numerous input fields provided for shipwreck entries. The basic search is designed to look up specific shipwrecks, or to search for ships of a certain size or that wrecked during a certain period. The basic search criteria include:

  • Shipwreck name
  • ID Number
  • State/Territory
  • Region
  • Where lost
  • Year wrecked range
  • Vessel type
  • Gross tonnage.

For additional search options that will support broader research questions, use the Advanced Search tab. This will allow you to search on any input field (variable) or any combination of input fields in the database.

Advanced Search instruction

Go to the Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database web page and select Search for shipwrecks

Click on the Advanced Search tab

You can search any of the input fields under one or more of the following main categories:

  • General Details (basic search criteria)
  • Location
  • Wrecking event
  • Vessel
  • Management
  • Environment
  • Names
  • Images

For example, if you expand the 'Vessel' category, you can search on one or any combination of the following:

  • Construction material (12 options)
  • Official number
  • Rig (33 options, including ‘Not rigged’ and ‘Unknown’)
  • Country built (110 options, including ‘Other’ and ‘Unknown’)
  • State built (including all Australian states and territories, ‘Norfolk Island’, ‘Australian Government’, ‘Commonwealth’, ‘New Zealand’, Papua New Guinea’, and ‘Solomon Islands’)
  • Construction locality
  • Length (From/To)
  • Year built (After/Before)

You can also search on any combination of input fields across categories.


  • Be careful not to over constrain the search (e.g., if you are searching for vessels built in Tasmania, do not select Country built: Australia and State built: Tasmania, just select the latter.
  • The search function only works as well as the completeness and accuracy of the underlying information allows. If a shipwreck entry does not contain information for a particular variable, then it will not show up in the results for a search done on that variable.