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Ian MacLeod

Ian MacLeod

Dr Ian MacLeod is Executive Director of Fremantle Museums and Maritime Heritage. Ian has been with the Western Australian Museum since 1978.

From a background of specialising in materials conservation and the decay of materials ancient and modern, Ian has applied his electrochemical background to solving complex problems association with preservation of materials from historic shipwrecks as well as conserving Aboriginal rock art. He has conducted numerous conservation training workshops, public lectures and has supervised more than ten overseas Masters conservation students in their internships at the museum laboratories. He has published more than 140 papers on applied chemistry, corrosion and conservation science.

Ian gained his PhD in electrochemistry and has 26 years of experience in corrosion measurements on shipwrecks in Australia, Scotland, Canada, USA, Portugal, Finland and Micronesia. He is an international expert on conservation of metals. Awarded numerous research grants for work on shipwrecks and rock art conservation.  He was a Senior Fulbright Fellow in 1993 studying at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles. Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological and Engineering Sciences (FTSE) in 2002. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Awarded a Centenary Medal in 2003 for “service to Australian Society in metallurgical science and engineering” by the Prime Minister. He spent four months in 2011 at the Getty Conservation Institute inLos Angelesworking on analysis of corrosion processes on historic shipwrecks.

Ian advises heritage managers on conservation options for underwater sites and for objects recovered from shipwrecks.  He liaises with communities on conservation issues for rock art.  Ian is a Board member of the Australian American Catalina Memorial Foundation and found a home for the WWII PBY5A Catalina the Museum owns. He was a member of the Directory Board of the International Council of Museum’s Committee for Conservation for six years. Ian fields more than 400 enquiries a year from WA interstate and overseas, mostly from services used by shipwreck managers. He periodically appears as an expert witness in court cases associated with corrosion of metals, including items such as pistols involved in a murder case and rusty paint tins.

Ian is a conservation advisor to the H L Hunley American Civil War (1864) submarine project and on the USS Monitor conservation advisory committee – The Monitor was the world’s first iron battleship with a rotating twin gun turret.


  • Conservation of the US confederate submarine HL Hunley from Charleston in South Carolina, the worlds first submarine to sink an enemy warship.
  • Diving on the HMAS Perth just after it was sunk as a 100-year corrosion monitoring experiment.
  • Cromwellian shipwreck in Isle of Mull, Scotland 1994, 98 etc
  • Portuguese shipwreck from 1786 in 1999 off Peniche, Portugal
  • Teaching and working on Baltic shipwrecks in 2001 out of Helsinki and Hanko
  • USS Arizona in Pearl Harbour in 1993
  • HMS Sirius (1790) flagship of the First Fleet off Norfolk Island from 1987-1999,
  • World War II aeroplanes and warships in Chuuk Lagoon, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008
  • Corrosion survey of shipwrecks in Fathom Five underwater park, Lake Huron in Canada in 1993.
  • HMAS Swan Artificial Reef wreck survey off Busselton, April 2002.

Ian is on the Editorial Board of Reviews in Conservation.

RiAus Involvement

What sank the Titanic? 26 June 2012 


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