Assessing the Efficacy of Anti-Submarine Measures in Safeguarding the Hawkesbury River Railway.

Author: Paul Gale

Gale, Paul, 2024 Assessing the Efficacy of Anti-Submarine Measures in Safeguarding the Hawkesbury River Railway., Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This academic research endeavours to delve into the realm of conflict archaeology, focusing on the underexplored domain of anti-invasion defences during the Second World War in Australia, specifically within the locale of Broken Bay, New South Wales. Despite the prevalent scholarly interest in Second World War archaeology, a noticeable dearth of studies concentrates explicitly on maritime defence installations and their material evidence in the context of a conflict. This research seeks to address this gap by employing the principles of historical and conflict archaeology and embracing perspectives from the archaeologies of the recent and contemporary past.

The primary objective of this study is to assess the preservation status of archaeological and documentary evidence relevant to Broken Bay, New South Wales, Australia, focusing on World War II maritime defences and their efficacy in preventing potential submarine incursions. The research methodology involves critically evaluating and analysing both material and archival forms of evidence. Each source is scrutinised to discern its unique role, value, and contribution, with particular emphasis on understanding submarine strategies and abilities as prerequisites for effectively utilising the evidence.

The findings of this research highlight the validity and productivity of an archaeological approach, mainly when applied to cross-disciplinary evidence derived from the recent past. The study reveals a comprehensive yet incompletely assembled and complex archaeological evidence base, utilising official sources that offer unique, knowledgeable, and authoritative information. Integrating diverse forms of evidence facilitates the construction of meaningful narratives, shedding light on different aspects of the shared phenomenon.

Moreover, this investigation identifies a significant lacuna in maritime conflict archaeological resources in Australia, specifically about anti-invasion defences. The deficiency underscores a substantial knowledge gap regarding Australia's efforts to safeguard vital infrastructure during the war. Consequently, the study emphasises the urgency for further extensive investigations into this subject matter, advocating for a more comprehensive understanding of Australia's wartime history. The research contributes to the broader discourse on conflict archaeology by revealing this critical aspect. It underscores the imperative for continued scholarly inquiry into Australia's maritime defences during the Second World War.

Keywords: Hawkesbury, Railway bridge, submarine, anti-submarine,

Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2024
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Claire Smith