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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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.

AUSTRALIA II, the winged keel and more

24 Sep 2013

Australia II has become one of the nation’s most recognisable vessels, thanks to that extraordinary America’s Cup win in 1983. Almost everyone knows about its winged keel that seemed to make it unbeatable.

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A tale of self-rescue

10 Jul 2013

Sometimes when it all goes pear-shaped you have to find a way to extract yourself from the situation. The gaff rigged 28 foot long Maluka and its crew got into and out of desperate circumstances late in 1935, helped a Christmas pudding, a lucky unplanned arrival onshore and their practical, bushman’s can-do resolve.

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Rescue - the Australian surf boats

09 Jul 2013

Famous throughout Australia as a symbol of the surf, surf clubs and the surf lifesaving movement, the surf lifesaving boat is an Australian class of boat evolved to suit the coastal beaches.

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Rescue - early Australian Lifeboats

01 Jul 2013

The coastline of Australia has some particularly exposed and dangerous areas, and a notable graveyard of accidents is the southwest coastline of Victoria and across to South Australia.

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Return voyage: A short family history

27 Mar 2013

In the 1850s my great, great grandfather, Frederick Payne lived in Thames Street and he was a waterman rowing passengers in his wooden skiff across the Thames, a stone’s throw to my left from where I stand.

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A week away, working in the UK

18 Mar 2013

Over the last week of February I travelled to the UK as part of my work at the museum, where my first appointment was to attend the meeting of the International Congress of Maritime Museums’ (ICMM) International Historic and Traditional Ships panel.

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Two men in a boat - Opening of 2013 Sydney Festival

07 Jan 2013

According to the media reports there were 60,000 people watching.  From my position, in the back of a canoe with Matt Doyle full blast on his didgeridoo in the front, I was too busy paddling and keeping it upright to notice just how many were watching us, taking pictures or filming.

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Cooktown: The museum heads north for a week

21 Dec 2012

It’s hot. And humid. But what else can you expect for far north Queensland in December? And it could have been worse – however, the southest trades were blowing across the hills on the coast, providing a margin of comfort across the town.

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A day in the life of a cruise ship

06 Dec 2012

Like nocturnal animals, they come home as dawn breaks, find their haven to sit out the heat of the day, and then head back out as the day cools into the evening. That’s one day’s pattern in the life of a cruise ship that comes to Sydney.

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