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.

lighthouse

Heroic deeds and the humble lighthouse keeper

15 Aug 2012

What was life like for a lighthouse keeper? I spotted this engraving, ‘The Lighthouse-Keeper’, which was published in the Australasian Sketcher in the 1880s. The sense of solitude and contemplation is striking and it occurred to me that there is often much emphasis on the lighthouse as a sturdy, dependable symbol of navigational safety, but less on the figure of the lighthouse keeper.

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No need to excavate - the wreck of the Buster (1893)

10 Aug 2012

Recently Dr. Brad Duncan from the Heritage Office, Department of Environment and Heritage and Kieran Hosty from the Australian National Maritime Museum travelled to Woolgoolga on New South Wales mid north coast to examine the remains of the Canadian built 310 ton gross, wooden, three-masted barquentine Buster.

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Shaping the unknown land to the South

07 Aug 2012

Maps are fantastic storytellers. At first glance they provide a collection of scientific data, information to be read like a coded book, a tool for guidance. However as they evolve into historical items and beyond their practical use, maps offer additional and unique dimensions to historical narratives.

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Remembering Adam Cullen

01 Aug 2012

Adam Cullen, well-known Australian artist, worked at the Australian National Maritime Museum for six years from 1994 and all his friends and colleagues here would like to say how saddened we were to hear of his death.

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Happy Birthday to Australian horses!

01 Aug 2012

Today is the birthday of all Australian horses and to celebrate I decided to write about shipping horses from Australia to India. Yes a rather unusual topic, but nevertheless a key story in our upcoming exhibition East of India: Power, Trade and Australia 1788-1857. 

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The Lady Rowers of the YWCA

25 Jul 2012

In case you hadn’t yet heard, the Olympics are just about to roll around again. As July comes to a close the Olympics will commence, captivating the world as it showcases the physical heights of human potential and creates history in its wake. Clearly this is an excellent opportunity for museums such as ours to combine a very Australian love of sports with a little history.

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The lone fisherman

16 Jul 2012

There’s something ambient about Kenneth Macqueen’s The Beach Fisherman, 1934. A man stands barefoot on a beach, fishing line in tow, with the shore stretching out further than the eye can see and the clouds threatening rain in a decidedly gloomy way.

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Eighteen months on a leaky boat

11 Jul 2012

There is something intriguing about natural history illustrations. The plants look as though they are sprouting from the page but the animals appear slightly on the edge of reality, with blankly staring eyes and stiffly posed limbs. Perhaps this is because the immobility of plants permit them to be drawn from life whereas animals do not generally allow the painter that luxury unless they are in a more, well, deceased state.

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