The Great Circle is the journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History. It was established in 1979 and attracts articles from both within Australia and overseas and has established a scholarly reputation. The Great Circle is a refereed journal and is published twice a year.

A great circle is the intersect of a sphere and a plane going through the centre of that sphere. The shortest distance between two places on earth is represented by the great circle that links them together. Although the geographical and climatological conditions of the earth prevent shipping from following a great circle course for any long distance, the concept is of the greatest importance for ocean-going navigation. Particularly during the heyday of the sailing clippers, masters deviated as little as possible from these magic lines on their charts. As such, The Great Circle symbolises the significance of Australia's overseas maritime links and indicates the aim of the association to promote the development of maritime history. Figuratively, The Great Circle also expresses its second objective: to encompass all individuals and groups interested in all aspects of maritime history, both in Australia and abroad.

The five diagrams on the back cover (courtesy of Rolf Krackowizer) illustrate some of the ships of significance to Australian and global maritime history: a Dutch East-Indiaman (c. 1700), the barque Parmelia (1825-39), a typical four-masted barque (c. 1900), a British battlecruiser of World War I, and the German containership Sydney Express (1970).

2022 Vol 44 No.2

2022 Vol 44 No.2



  • Roland Leikauf, Why Not Boats? A Short History of (Not) Saving the Vessels of Refugees Coming to Australia by Sea Between 1975 And 1979
  • Jeroen Overweel, Almost a Dutch Australia: Dutch Plans for the West Coast of New Holland in the 1820s
  • Nonja Peters, Identifying the Skipper on the Leeuwin's Outbound Journey 1621-22
  • Ross Anderson and Theresa Archer, Trial and Errors: Lieutenant Commander Rupert Gould's Role in the Discovery of the True Location of Trial Rocks
  • Margaret Cameron-Ash, Penal Colony or Political Masterstroke? Australia's Anglo-French Story
  • John M. Bingeman, Identification of the 'China Wreck', Ascension Island

Book Reviews

  • Carsten Berg Hagenhoff, Sweers Islands Unveiled: Details from Abel Tasman & Mathew Flinders' Exploration of Australia (Alan W. Everett)
  • Tracey Williams, Adrift: The Curious Tale of LEGO Lost at Sea (Mick de Ruyter)

2022 Vol 44 No.1

2022 Vol 44 No.1

  • The Short Life of Associated Steamship’s Interstate Container Service (Neil Barnwell)
  • The Long History of Cholera in Mozambique: A Problematic Indian Ocean Disease (Edward A. Alpers)
  • Too Much has Been Made of the Contribution by James Lind and James Cook to the Cure of Scurvy at Sea (Alan. W Everett)
  • Towards a Periodisation of Indian Ocean Maritime History (Peter Ridgway)
  • The Roles of Captain Cook and Governor Phillip in the Founding of Australia (Sir Roger Carrick)
  • Cayman’s 1794 Wreck of the Ten Sail: Peace, War and Peril by Margaret E Leshikar-Denton (Book Review by Ian C. Dunshee)

2021 Vol 43 No.2

2021 Vol 43 No.2

  • A War Winning Vessel? Submarines in German and Japanese Naval Strategy 1918-1941 (Peter Hooker)
  • USS Bullhead: The Last US Naval Vessel Lost in World War II (Ian Chambers)
  • Submarines, Submariners and the Western Australian Museum's Department of Archaeology (Michael McCarthy)
  • The World War II Legacy of the Royal Netherlands Submarines at Fremantle (Sally R May)
  • Locating Submarines in Layers of Australia's History: The Making of a Submarine Museum (Ronald Sulman)

Call for Papers


Editorial team

General Editor: Dr Peter Hobbins
Book Review Editor: Dr Peter Hobbins
Production Manager: Dr Ian Chambers
Editorial Board:  
  • Professor Catherine Kelly, University of Bristol
  • Emeritus Professor Timothy Runyan, University of Rhode Island
  • Associate Professor Francis Steel, University of Otago
  • Professor Rod Mather, University of Rhode Island
  • Associate Professor Tiffany Shellham, Deakin University
  • Dr Alessandro Antonello, Flinders University
  • Dr Kristie Flannery, Australian Catholic University
  • Dr Rohan Howitt, Monash University
  • Dr Natali Person, University of Sydney
  • Dr Eureka Heinrich, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Margaret Cook, Griffith University
  • Dr Elizabeth Buchanan, RAN Sea Power Centre

Great Circle Indexes 1979 – 2018

Two separate indexes to the papers and book reviews in The Great Circle volumes have been collated. These files are Adobe Acrobat (pdf) files.

The Australian National Library contain copies of our publications. Past The Great Circle articles are available on JSTOR.

Papers in The Great Circle 1979-2022

Reviews in The Great Circle 1979-2022