The Ningaloo Trail: Stefano Coast Colloquium – Call for Papers


in association with



Ningaloo Stefano Colloqium


(for a 20-30 minute presentation)

 18-19 April 2015
Venue: TBA
Perth, Western Australia

The remote 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, including Cape Range National Park, 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 barque Stefano and the local Yinikurtira (West Talanjdi) Australians. The full details of this story were kept secret for over 120 years and became known only in 1990 when Gustave Rathe, the grandson of one of the only two survivors, 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 kept by the survivors’ descendants along with a compilation of other information available on the shipwreck. The manuscript came with a map on which the alphabetical points A to Z depicted the locations where the castaways had travelled. This journey by the Stefano mariners in 1875-6 neatly overlaps today’s World Heritage-listed Ningaloo coastline.

The Stefano Manuscript Map of the North-West of Western Australia
Download PDF

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 2011 a Lotterywest Trail Planning grant made it possible to fix the coordinates of the Trail locations. 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 spectacular beach artworks leading to an Indigenous Education and Research Centre for Land and Sea Coastal Habitat 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 Trail in cyberspace.

 The aim of this Colloquium is to consolidate this Trail vision. You are invited to send in a short 150 word Abstract for a 20-30 minute presentation that can contribute to our knowledge of:

  • Ningaloo Coastal Land and Marine Habitat – especially in the proximity of: Red Bluff, Gnaraloo Bay, Nine Mile Bore, Bulbarli Well, Warroora Fig Tree Well, Stevenson Well, Yalobia, Bruboodjoo, Twin Peaks, Jane Bay, Black Rock, Norwegian Bay, Lefroy Bay, Yardie Creek, Pilgonaman Well, Tulkie Well, Point Murat, Bundegi Beach, Wapet Creek, Bay of Rest, South Muiron Island.
  • Ningaloo Indigenous and Heritage Sites
  • Yinikurtira Country and its People
  • Colonial Western Australia circa 1875-6
  • The Stefano Shipwreck Story
  • The Stefano Manuscript
  • Education Potential of the Stefano Shipwreck Narrative
  • The Stefano Coast: Indigenous Tourism and Knowledge Tourism
  • Creative Collaboration: The Art of the Reef
  • The Stefano Trail: Preserving the Ningaloo World Heritage Coast
  • The Stefano Trail: Cyber Technology
  • The Stefano Trail: The Spirit of the Sculptured Signage
  • The Stefano Trail: Festive Tradition – 4 July
  • Cultural Collaboration in the Indian Ocean
  • Currents of Dreaming and Saltwater People

Please e-mail your 150 word Abstracts by 28 February 2015 to:
Dr Josko Petkovic
Director NASS Research Centre,
Chair Barque Stefano Yinikurtira Foundation