Australia’s colourful maritime history to capture the world’s attention

June 27, 2016

Murdoch is hosting the International Congress of Maritime History.Plagues, pearling and potential invasions are a few of the topics to be discussed at Australia’s biggest ever gathering of international maritime scholars.

Murdoch University will host the International Congress of Maritime History, which is the first time the group has ever convened in the Southern Hemisphere.

The week-long conference, entitled Old Worlds, New Worlds? Emerging themes in maritime history opens today, Monday 27 June.

Key historical topics under discussion at the conference include the extraordinary stories of the migrants, merchants, explorers and invaders who sailed through Western Australian waters over the past centuries.

Conference Chair Professor Malcolm Tull, a maritime economist from Murdoch University, said the event provided a key opportunity for Australia.

“We are an island nation and so this sort of investigation into maritime history reveals much about our cultural past and helps us understand current issues,” said Professor Tull.

“More than 100 international scholars are expected to attend the event, putting the spotlight on the key role of maritime trade and politics in shaping the Indo-Pacific region.”

Highlights of the conference include presentations on a secret plot by the Spanish to expel Britain from the Pacific region in 1796, the control of bubonic plague in Fremantle in 1900, and how the maritime world shaped modern China.

2016 is the 400th anniversary of Dirk Hartog’s discovery of Western Australia. To commemorate this event a special issue of the journal The Great Circle will be launched at Kerry Stokes Art Gallery by Dr Arnold Strooback, Honorary Consul, The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

A number of Murdoch University researchers will present at the conference, including Professor Jim Warren, Dr Joseph Christensen and Professor Michael Sturma.

More information about the conference highlights can be accessed at

Interested members of the community are welcome to attend the conference, and can register on the conference website.

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