Contemporary Collections: Preprints from the AICCM National Conference 17th g 19th October 2007 Brisbane pp. 212-220
In 2006, two unidentified items recovered in 1997 from the SS Yongala were conserved at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. Through the conservation process the items were identified as a Kelvin and James White Company chronometer and a ship’s clock. It was proven through experimentation that both timepieces had stopped by flooding. Consequently, the actual time of sinking of the vessel was now known via the corrosion product and hand positions on the time pieces. Due to the significance of this facet of the artefacts, the conservation approach adopted was to retain the historical information held in corrosion product and to treat the exterior casing sympathetically to retain the appearance of having come from a marine environment. In conjunction with this treatment approach, a suitable housing for long term storage was constructed, recognising the possibility of significant residual chloride ions under concretions being preserved in situ. This paper reports on the conservation approach used and the preventive conservation methodology devised for these artefacts.