The University of Dubrovnik Conference – Call for Papers


International Scientific Conference

Navigating along the Stefano Trail


2-3 September 2015
The University of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Please e-mail your 150 word abstracts for a 20-30 minute presentation
23 June 2015

Dr Josko Petkovic, Director NASS Research Centre, Murdoch University,
Chair Barque Stefano Yinikurtira Foundation
and to MSc Silvija Batoš, The University of Dubrovnik

International Scientific Conference


Navigating Along the Stefano Trail

2-3 September 2015

The remote Western Australia Ningaloo Coast is one of the most impressive coastlines in the world. It contains the longest fringe coral reef in Australia and its pristine beauty is protected by a series of marine parks. In June 2011 the World Heritage Committee declared the Ningaloo Coast to be on the World Heritage List.

In 1875, when this coastline was still largely unexplored by Europeans, it became the setting for a most dramatic shipwreck story involving the stranded mariners from the Croatian barque Stefano (sailing under the Austro-Hungarian flag) and the coastal Yinikurtira Australians. Of the seventeen Stefano crew, only two survived the six-month ordeal. The two mariners, Miho Bačić and Ivan Jurić, survived by joining a group of Yinikurtira nomads and living with them for three months until 18 April 1876 when they were picked up by Charles Tuckey in his cutter Jessie.

The full details of this story were kept secret for over 120 years and became widely known only in 1990 when Gustave Rathe, the grandson of Miho Bačić, published his book The Wreck of the Barque Stefano off the North West Coast of Australia (Hesperian Press). The book itself was an adaptation of the secret manuscript completed shortly after the two shipwrecked sailors returned home to Dubrovnik and with the help of Canon Stjepan Škurla. The 276-page manuscript, written in Italian, was subsequently passed on by Bačić and his family to their descendants. The manuscript came with a map on which the alphabetical points A to Z depicted the locations where the castaways had travelled with their Indigenous helpers. This journey neatly overlaps today’s World Heritage-listed Ningaloo coastline.

The Stefano Shipwreck website can be found at:

The translated manuscript can be found at:

Navigating Along the Stefano Trail International Scientific Conference continues a longstanding collaboration between Murdoch University and the University of Dubrovnik on the Stefano shipwreck project. The primary aim of this Conference is to explore the contextual details of this shipwreck story with particular focus on the navigational practices both past and present.

You are invited to send 150 words abstract (in English or Croatian) on the following topics:

Dubrovnik circa 1875:

Maritime Tradition
Dubrovnik Maritime Training
Navigating on the High Seas: Navigation Technology
Log-Keeping Tradition of Dubrovnik Mariners
Shipwreck Protocol and Conventions
Maritime Emergency Provisions
Maritime Law and Compensation Practices
Adriatic Shipbuilding circa 1873-75
Pelješac Maritime Tradition
Pontos Euxenos (Black Sea) Trade
Maritime Oral Traditions
Votive Traditions


Indian Ocean circa 1875:

Indian Ocean Maritime Trade
Spice Route and Brouwer Route

1909 “Stefano”:

1909 “Stefano”: Fact and Fiction

2015 Stefano Trail:

The Stefano Manuscript
Data and Archive Management
Navigating with GPS on the Stefano Coast
Festive Tradition – 4 July Reunion
Festive Tradition: No 1 Nuclear Target in Australia
NWC and Montebello Interpretation Centers
The Spirit of the Signage
World-Heritage Research and Pre-Contact Culture
Korčula-Fremantle Charter of Friendship

Since the publication of Rathe’s book an ever-growing number of readers have become convinced that the Stefano shipwreck has all the hallmarks of a classic narrative. A group of these committed enthusiasts are now working with descendants of Yinikurtira Australians to have this story permanently inscribed on the Ningaloo landscape as the Barque Stefano Yinikurtira Trail.

In 2012 the Barque Stefano Yinikurtira not-for-profit Foundation was established to oversee the establishment of the Trail. The high point of the proposed Trail will be a chain of engaging beach artworks leading to an Indigenous Education and Research Centre in Exmouth. When the Trail is completed the Ningaloo coastline as a whole will become one large exterior art gallery hosting 21 large sculptured artworks by acclaimed Australian and international artists. Visitors will be guided to these localities by a GPS-connected Stefano Trail in cyberspace.

One aim of the Navigating Along the Stefano Trail Conference is to contribute to this vision of the Barque Stefano Yinikurtira story.

The program will include tours of Stefano-related Dubrovnik localities, including:

• Dubrovnik Maritime Museum
• Jesuit Library
• Miho’s School
• 1873-1875 Lower Maritime School (Franciscan Monastery)
• Pile (Bačić family environs)
• Costa family environs
• The Three Churches (Canon Stjepan Škurla’s resting place)
• Her Lady of Mercy Church Museum (Crkva Gospe od Milosrđa Musej)
• The Stefano Club (Dubrovnik)
• Gruž

Please e-mail your 150 word abstracts for a 20-30 minute presentation
23 June 2015

Dr Josko Petkovic, Director NASS Research Centre, Murdoch University,
Chair Barque Stefano Yinikurtira Foundation
and to MSc Silvija Batoš, The University of Dubrovnik