The SS Dicky wreck is set to be relocated due to increasing community concerns over public safety and, just as importantly, to preserve an important piece of history.
Sunshine Coast Council Division 2 Councillor Tim Dwyer said members of the taskforce formed by council to develop a long term management strategy for the wreck, had unanimously voted in favour of the wreck’s relocation, subject to council funding.
“This taskforce consists of representatives from Dicky Beach Surf Life Saving Club, community heritage representatives, State Government and council,” Cr Dwyer said.
“While relocation is still subject to project funding consideration by council, today’s preliminary investigation testing was another step in the process to save what is left of the SS Dicky.”
A surveyor was on site to record the wreck’s perimeter; the keel level and any exposed bedrock.
Four archaeologists were also on-site to manually excavate, direct the mechanical excavator, photograph stages of the proceedings and direct the surveyor and staff throughout the operation.
Preliminary investigation testing included surveying the upper portions of the wreck as the tide dropped and before excavation started.
Cr Dwyer said mechanical excavation started on the interior port side moving towards the keel.
“Depending on the amount of loose and fixed debris in the hull, there were times when the archaeologists needed to manually excavate and record, using the surveyor’s assistance, before mechanical excavation could continue,” he said.
“When archaeologists were digging or recording inside the hull, mechanical excavation switched to the exterior port side.
“All mechanical excavation was supervised by an archaeologist at all times.”
Cr Dwyer said a range of management options for the SS Dicky wreck had been considered and discussed at length by the taskforce and the option to relocate was voted as the best way forward, subject to council funding.
“By relocating the existing structure we can improve public safety at Dicky Beach and better preserve the heritage values of the iconic wreck,” he said.
Cr Dwyer said February’s proposed interim works to remove parts of the wreck that posed a safety risk had been deemed unsuitable.
“Removing some of the spiked ‘rib’ sections of the wreck would not alleviate the risk to public safety because the naturally occurring fluctuations in sand levels would eventually expose these sharp edges again,” he said.