Discover stories behind the latest exhibitions, fascinating explorations into maritime science and archaeology, and the surprising details of what happens inside (and outside) a modern working museum.


David Payne

David Payne is Curator of Historic Vessels at Australian National Maritime Museum, and through the Australian Register of Historic Vessels he works closely with heritage boat owners throughout Australia researching and advising on their craft and their social connections. David has also been a yacht designer and documented many of the museum’s vessels with extensive drawings. He has had a wide sailing experience, from Lasers and 12-foot skiffs through to long ocean passages. Since 2012 he has been able to work closely with Aboriginal communities on a number of Indigenous canoe building and watercraft projects.

SY Ena is one of the finest Edwardian steam yachts in the world

ENA and the Dibbs family

28 Apr 2014

Late March and with the rain coming down in Sydney, the luxurious SY Ena played host to descendants of its original owner from 1900, Sir Thomas Dibbs. Fourteen relatives gathered in the museum foyer and then went down to see their patriarch’s pride and joy, fresh from a trial steaming on the Friday and eager to get out again.

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Queensland Outreach

15 Apr 2014

Four days over April in south-east Queensland on behalf of the museum and in a similar manner to my recent travel along the Murray River in Victoria, I have had discussions or inspections involving a diverse variety of craft over a short period.

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SY Ena at the museum

10 Mar 2014

For years it’s been under covers, almost out of sight, and seemed untouchable on the rare occasions it was out on the water – but now the harbour’s princess SY Ena has begun to shed her mystique- and the museum is lucky enough to provide a venue for her coming out.

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Meetings on the Murray

28 Feb 2014

Five days in Victoria and the Murray River, and I have had discussions or inspections involving an amazing variety of craft over a short period, showing once again what a diverse collection of historic craft and related people that we have in Australia.

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Australian Olympic Sailing

03 Feb 2014

Australian Olympic sailing reached an amazing peak at the 2012 Olympics, with the team of sailors claiming three gold medals and one silver medal, making Australia the most successful nation in the sailing events.

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MYRA TOO goes sailing

17 Jan 2014

Myra Too, the replica of the champion 18-Foot skiff built by Billy Barnett in 1951 has been sailing for the first time early this month. The background, research and building progress have been highlighted on earlier blogs by the museum’s Digital Outreach Curator Penny Edwell.

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Maritime landscapes

22 Nov 2013

If you have a minute, take a look at this shot with me. It’s a maritime scene – and not a cross between a really bad accident on the Persian rug or a promising entry for the Sulman Prize!

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Crossing the Bridge

13 Nov 2013

The Sydney Harbour Bridge.  It’s one of Sydney’s most famous examples of civil engineering heritage, and a major feature of the Harbour’s maritime landscape. Thousands of commuters use it each day passing under the span by ferry or across the top by car, bus, train, and bicycle or on foot.

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