Protecting maritime cultural heritage near Cairns

A nationally significant RAAF World War II aircraft wreck is now protected in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near the Frankland Islands.

A one kilometre square special management area covering the main Catalina wreck and outlying artefacts is located 12 kilometres east of the Frankland Island Group south of Cairns in a Marine National Park (Green) Zone.

Another similar special management area is now also in effect to protect a Catalina aircraft wreck near Bowen.

There are several special management areas throughout the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, recognising some areas need additional protection for conservation, heritage, public appreciation and other values.

To ensure these sites are protected, visitors need to be mindful there are changes to how the area is accessed and used.

The Cairns wreck lies in 36 metres of water in a Marine National Park (Green) Zone. While the main section of the fuselage and wing are close to each other, other parts of the wreck may be scattered in a broader area.

In determining the extent of the special management area, the outlying artefacts were considered. While the wreck is already in a highly protected no-take area where fishing is not allowed, the special management area provides additional protection to this historic site.

Map showing the Frankland Islands Special Management Area. Please contact GBRMPA on (07) 4750 0700 for the specific information on the coordinates.