Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

The Black Cats. Report into the feasibility of locating, raising and conserving one of the four Catalina Flying Boats scuttled off Rottnest Island in the years 1945-1946

Author/s M. McCarthy

Year of publication 1997

Report Number: 125

The Department of Maritime Archaeology at the Western Australian Maritime Museum has been requested by officers of the Catalina Club of Western Australia, notably President Mr Ivan Peirce and member. Mr Brian Buzzard Snr., to comment on the feasibility of locating and raising at least one of the four Catalinas scuttled off Rottnest Island in WWII. This report follows a series of similar requests, including one previous from the Han Phillip Pendal MLA, inquiring on behalf of the Club. The RAN have conducted a search for the wrecks and recently, the well-known Fremantle identity Dr Michael G. Kailis AM, offered to assist the Club in its search where possible, further adding impetus to the initiative.

Having no legislative responsibility for the remains of wrecked aircraft and other submerged remains, the Department of Maritime Archaeology would normally pass on such requests and all relevant information to the Aviation Museum at Bull Creek or to the Australian War Memorial. The work requested in this instance is allied to the Department's expertise in maritime archaeology, its understandjng of the complexities of conservation and exhibition and its understanding of (relatively) deep-water remote sensing search techniques, however. The report which follows focusses on these areas and on the feasibility and desirability of locating, raising and conserving one of the aircraft.