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.

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Kim Tao

Kim is the curator of post-Federation immigration at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The elusive Mrs Cherry

06 Nov 2017

In our own museum’s immigration collection are two intriguing watercolour albums that were created by traveller and amateur cartoonist, Mrs M E Cherry, in the 1930s.

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Fifty years of Turkish migration

05 Oct 2017

Fifty years ago today, on 5 October 1967, the Australian and Turkish governments signed a bilateral agreement to provide assisted passage to Turkish migrants, to help build Australia’s population and expand the workforce.

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Meeting the descendants from a disaster at sea

08 Sep 2017

One of the museum’s most-requested paintings for public viewing is a dramatic watercolour by Sydney landscape artist Samuel Elyard (1817–1910) titled Burning of the Barque India (c 1841). Recently we arranged a viewing for cousins Catherine Bell and John Grant.

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The Batavia tapestry

10 May 2017

Last week we unveiled a new large-scale embroidered work, the Batavia Tapestry by Melbourne textile artist Melinda Piesse at the museum.

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Reflections on a piece of pewter: The Hartog plate

01 May 2017

This week a very special piece of pewter is coming to the museum -  the Hartog plate, on loan from the Rijksmuseum to mark 400 years since Dutch mariner Dirk Hartog made the first recorded European landing on the west coast of Australia in October 1616.

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Illuminating Dirk Hartog

25 Oct 2016

Last Thursday night saw the launch of the museum’s latest roof projection, A chance encounter, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Dutch mariner Dirk Hartog’s landing on the west coast of Australia in the VOC ship Eendracht.

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Commemorating Dirk Hartog’s chance encounter

26 Sep 2016

Four hundred years ago, Dutch mariner Dirk Hartog (1580–1621) sailed into history when, on 25 October 1616, he made the first documented European landing on the west coast of Australia in the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship Eendracht (‘Concord’ or ‘Unity’).

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A woolie mermaid

04 Aug 2015

Last week I started exploring the fascinating intersection between needlework, craft and maritime history in the museum’s collection, examining an embroidered sampler made by young British migrant Julia Donovan in 1879. Today I will be looking at the sampler’s first cousin – the sailor’s woolwork picture or embroidered ship portrait, affectionately known as a ‘woolie’.

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Needlework sampler made by Julia Donovan on board Carnatic en route to Australia, 1879

A migration story in stitch

28 Jul 2015

One of my favourite objects in the museum’s collection is a charming needlework sampler made by 19-year-old assisted immigrant Julia Donovan on board the Carnatic in January 1879. Immigration records show that Julia arrived in Rockhampton, Queensland, from England on 5 February 1879, and presumably went into domestic service in the growing port town.

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