International Year of the Reef event to delve inside shipwreck

Visitors to It’s Your Reef Fest at Alva Beach will have the opportunity to delve into the myths associated with the S.S. Yongala with insights from wreck videographer and researcher Max Gleeson.

It’s Your Reef Fest, a celebration of 2018 International Year of the Reef, will be a plastic free event on at Alva Beach Park from 9am to 3pm this Saturday 23 June.

Mr Gleeson spent the past four years putting together a definitive documentary into the loss of the S.S. Yongala and will preview the film S.S. Yongala – Mystery of a Generation at 10am and 12.30pm during Saturday’s reef event.

“It is the story of one of the most tragic maritime disasters in Australia’s history,” Mr Gleeson said.

“The loss of the S.S. Yongala, which sunk in a cyclone on 23 March 1911, was a mystery that meant so much to the generation of people at the time. There were 122 passengers on board and no survivors. The wreck itself was not found until 1958.”

Mr Gleeson received special permission to film inside the shipwreck – located just 12 nautical miles off the coast of Alva Beach – and captures not only the fascinating journey from stern to stern throughout the wreck but also the staggering marine life around it.

“This particular shipwreck is unchallenged as far as marine life goes – it’s like a giant aquarium and just blows people away who have the opportunity witness it,” Mr Gleeson said.

Mr Gleeson said the Great Barrier Reef was one of Australia’s greatest assets and looking after it was essential.

It’s Your Reef Fest will be a free community event celebrating the Burdekin’s connection to the Great Barrier Reef and promoting responsible habits, with Hands on Wildlife shows, over 20 stalls and special guest speakers.

This Burdekin Shire Council event has been made possible thanks to an Australian Government Reef Guardian grant.

Both the documentary and Mr Gleeson’s book S.S. Yongala – Townsville’s Titanic, will be available to purchase on the day.

For further information please visit Council’s website or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

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