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Welsh Treasure Hunters turn focus to Melbourne

Posted by: Michael James | 1 February, 2013 - 5:21 PM
Vincent Thurkettle

In something that wouldn’t be out of place in a Robert Louis Stevenson novel, a team of treasure hunters have landed in Melbourne to delve deeper into the story of a 153-year-old Welsh shipwreck.

460 people died and around £80 million in Australian gold was lost when the Royal Charter sank off the coast of North Wales in October 1859. 

Gold prospector Vincent Thurkettle has been exploring the wreck for 7 consecutive summers but says his focus has now shifted from the pursuit of treasure to the stories behind it.

"I went there looking for the gold, no doubt about it at all, but as you start finding the artefacts and the bits and pieces it gets more and more interesting and you begin to sort of morph from being purely obsessed with the gold to being interested in the people" Mr Thurkettle told Ross Stevenson on 3AW Breakfast.

The documentary team are currently in Melbourne searching for any relatives of a man named Edward Bennett after the salvage crew found a clearly engraved snuff box with his name. Image below.

"I put a piece in the Daily Telegraph, which is a main British newspaper, and this film company picked it up and said 'This is the most amazing story'," he told 3AW Breakfast.

"It picks up everything from a storm which changed weather forecasting in Britain, the socio-economic development of Britain and Australia together and the personal tragedy, the simple human tragedy,"

"So there is every angle if you like, adventure, romance, wealth, tragedy, everything is there" he said.

WATCH VIDEO: Vincent Thurkettle and Gwen Jones in the 3AW Studio with Ross Stevenson.

IMAGE: Edward Bennett's snuff box (supplied)

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IMAGE: A ring from the wreck of the Royal Charter (supplied)

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Blog comments Your Say

  • Wow! Good treasure hunting. Thank a lot to share with us.

    Linchon Saturday 9 February, 2013 - 3:42 PM
  • A great story.. i hope some film makers are listening.. this would make a great adventure story..

    Cathy Ryan Sunday 3 February, 2013 - 6:46 PM

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