|Successor||South Australian Archaeology Society|
|Formation||30 September 1974|
|Dissolved||12 March 2012|
|Legal status||Incorporated association|
|Purpose||Amateur Maritime Archaeology|
|Affiliations||Friends of Parks|
|Website||SUHR Publications website|
The Society for Underwater Historical Research (SUHR) was an amateur maritime archaeology organisation operating in South Australia (SA). It was formed in 1974 by recreational scuba divers and other persons to pursue an interest in maritime archaeology and maritime history. The SUHR was renamed as the South Australian Archaeology Society in March 2012 as part of a plan to expand its activities beyond maritime archaeology to include other archaeological disciplines.
The SUHR was founded in September 1974 by recreational scuba divers principally from the Underwater Explorers Club of South Australia (UEC) and occupational scuba divers from government agencies such as the South Australian Museum and the South Australian Police, as well as a number of individuals interested in maritime history.
The origin of the SUHR is due in part to the positive public response to the aftermath of a successful expedition in 1973 to locate and recover two anchors discarded during 1803 by HMS Investigator whilst under the command of Matthew Flinders off the coast of what is now Western Australia. The recovery of the anchors and their connection to the voyage of HMS Investigator is commemorated in the inclusion of the best bower anchor and the outline of the Australian continent on the SUHR emblem.
After its formation in 1974, the SUHR was initially managed by a committee consisting of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and the following specialist officers – Research Officer, Registrar of Relics (added in 1976), an officer to liaise with the responsible part of the South Australian Government which was initially the South Australian Museum, and an officer to liaise with the South Australian Police Force (removed in 1978). By the late 1970s, it had evolved into a project-based organisation whose work consisted of activities such as planning, research, exploration, logistics, photography, survey and the publication of reports. Activities such as recovery and conservation, while historically significant, ceased to be carried out in the late 1980s except where permitted by archaeological practice. In April 1982, a group within the membership who were unhappy with the increasing level of professionalization, resigned and founded a competing organisation known as the Nautical Archaeology Association of South Australia. In 1999, after nearly a decade of stagnation, new life was breathed in the organisation via new funding opportunities and interest in membership from undergraduate and postgraduate archaeology students.
The SUHR also participated in archaeological work organised by others concerning the following wreck sites:
During the late 1970s and the early 1980s, the SUHR actively lobbied alone and with others for government action on the following matters:
Best Bower Anchor dropped from HMS Investigator by Matthew Flinders in 1803. Recovered by the Underwater Explorers Club of SA in 1973. On display at the South Australian Maritime Museum.
Loch Vennachar. Glasgow. 1485 Tons. Built at Glasgow. 1875. Wrecked, Kangaroo Island 1905. Wreck site discovered by the SUHR in 1976.
Wreck of Santiago, in the ships graveyard in the North Arm, a waterway between the Port River and Barker Inlet, Port Adelaide, South Australia. Originally surveyed by the SUHR in 1978.
Lady Kinnaird anchor on the foreshore at Port Neill. Recovered by the SUHR & others in 1979.
The remains of Aagot, not long after it was wrecked in 1907. Wrecksite surveyed by the SUHR in 1983.
Wreck of Sunbeam, Built in 1857 and abandoned in the ships graveyard in 1910. In the North Arm of the Port River, Adelaide, South Australia. Wreck Site surveyed by the SUHR in 1989 & 1990.
Dorothy H Sterling (formerly Oregon Pine). Wreck site surveyed by the SUHR in 1989 & 1990.
The trawler Ellen wrecked on Morgan Beach. Wreck site surveyed by the SUHR in 2003.