Sunday Seminars: Secrets of the Deep


Sunday 21 April | 2pm - 3pm
Sunday 28 April | 2pm - 3pm
Sunday 9 June | 2pm - 3pm


Included with General Admission | Bookings required


Suitable for ages 10+


1 hour

Join us in investigating the mysteries of shipwrecks and the wonders that lie beneath the ocean's surface.

Whether it’s exploring historic shipwrecks or discovering what lives down in Perth Canyon, WA Museum’s scientists are working with other experts to deepen our understanding of what lies beneath the waves. 

Hear from experts in this informative series of talks.

Please note: There is a special Sunday Seminars: Secrets of the Deep event taking place on Thursday 25 April (Anzac Day) 

Seminar sessions

Sunday 21 April | Behind the Scenes aboard Titanic

Hear surprising fact about the most recognisable images of Titanic

Presenter: Chris Frame, Author and co-host of The Big Cruise Podcast for a Titanic talk. 

Join Chris Frame, maritime author and co-host of The Big Cruise Podcast for a Titanic talk that delves into the ship’s story pre-sinking and highlights fascinating imagery of the internal spaces aboard the ship. 

Chris also reveals a surprising fact about the most recognisable images of Titanic, something that always amazes his audiences.

Chris Frame has been researching ocean liners and their history since he was a boy, when his fascination for ocean liners developed after reading a book about Titanic. Now, with over a dozen maritime history and cruising books published, Chris has made regular appearances on television news, documentaries, news websites and radio, as a subject matter expert for ocean liner history and cruise ships. 

Sunday 28 April | Conservation of Titanic artefacts

Find out why the Titanic wreck is covered with soft bodied organisms.

Presenter: Dr Ian D MacLeod, AM., Director, Heritage Conservation Solutions, WA Museum Fellow.

When objects fall into the sea, they begin to change their nature and the decay processes build up complex matrixes that can be protective or injurious. Subtle changes take place in the ocean chemistry in deep water. At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, marine organisms cannot deposit calcareous skeletons so the Titanic wreck is covered with non-protective soft bodied organisms like sea-squirts and anemone. 

There is a huge chemical difference between the mudline and the low oxygen area of the open-ocean and this power accelerates decay. As a conservator our job is to take highly reactive objects from the marine environment and move them into a stable state and in so doing, retain the maximum values associated with their original purpose. 

Dr Ian MacLeod has held instruments that the band were playing as the ship sank and identified goods being carried by a visitor to Australia who was in Sydney in 1911. He writes lots of scientific papers and poetry that captures both the tangible and intangible. He is a Fellow of five learned societies and is passionate about decay. 


Sunday 9 June | Exploring WA’s deep-water diversity

Go on a deep ocean journey off the coast of Western Australia with incredible imagery from mysterious marine fish to rare and beautiful creatures. 

Presenter: Dr. Lisa Kirkendale, Head of Department (Aquatic Zoology) and Curator (Molluscs), WA Museum 

WA Museum scientists have recently taken part in a number of deep-sea research voyages, developing our knowledge of the amazing seascape and wildlife that thrives there. Take a plunge into this strange wilderness. 

The vast Indian Ocean still holds many mysteries, and this research ushers in a new chapter of understanding life in the deep sea. Featuring incredible imagery of the team’s deep sea discoveries, Lisa will highlight the diversity of life forms: from mysterious marine fish to rare and beautiful new finds of squid, shrimp and sponges.  

Dr. Lisa Kirkendale has been working at the Western Australian Museum for a decade, where she serves as the Curator of Molluscs and has been the Head of Aquatic Zoology engaging in numerous field trips collecting molluscs, including diving and shore collecting. Lisa loves exploring the diverse habitats and landscapes of our State and particularly enjoys winter fieldwork with to document active species of WA snails. 

Past event | Sunday 7 April | Deep Light: Exploring the deepwater wrecks of HMAS Sydney (II) and HSK Kormoran (1941)

Explore the deepwater wrecks of HMAS Sydney (II) and HSK Kormoran (1941)

Presenters: Dr Ross Anderson, Curator, WA Museum Department of Maritime Heritage, Assoc. Prof. Andrew Woods, Manager, Curtin University HIVE (Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch

On 19 November 1941 a naval battle off Western Australia's coast between Australia's light cruiser HMAS Sydney (II), and the disguised German raider HSK Kormoran led to the loss of both ships, and HMAS Sydney's entire crew of 645 men. Both wrecks were discovered in 2008 in around 2500m depth by the Finding Sydney Foundation and David Mearns of Blue Water Recoveries. In 2015 the WA Museum and Curtin University, with support from DOF Subsea revisited the shipwrecks to conduct high-resolution digital photography and scientific surveys of the wrecks' deep-sea environment, in the process learning more about the battle, the ships and their crews.

Dr Ross Anderson is a maritime historian,  archaeologist and Curator with the WA Museum's Department of Maritime Heritage. He was part of the 'Two Ships' project team that visited the HMAS Sydney (II) and HSK Kormoran (1941) shipwreck sites in 2015, to document new findings from the expedition. Ross has also investigated two 19th century sailing shipwrecks lying between 3,700 and 3,900 metres depth in the Southern Indian Ocean, discovered during the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. He is excited about the possibilities for learning more from these and future deepwater shipwreck discoveries, as technological development and exploration of the deep sea continues.

Andrew Woods has a broad background in imaging and visualisation.  He was the technology lead on the Sydney-Kormoran Project which surveyed the wrecks of HMAS Sydney (II) and HSK Kormoran in 2015, and imaging lead for the survey of the wreck of Australia’s first submarine HMAS AE1 in 2018.  In 2017 he was recognised as one of Australia's Most Innovative Engineers by Engineers Australia.

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