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Keywords:

  • souvenir-hunting;
  • amnesty;
  • blanket protection;
  • historic shipwrecks

In 1993 a nationwide amnesty was declared in Australia, calling for members of the public who were in possession of historic shipwreck relics to declare them to their respective State cultural heritage management agencies. The amnesty was instituted in response to an amendment in the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, which introduced ‘blanket protection’ for all shipwrecks and associated relics in Commonwealth waters which were at least 75 years old. This paper reports on a recent assessment of the process, consequences and implications of the amnesty, and discusses the significance of the results.

© 2008 The Author