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.

From Brunswick to Bullecourt

25 Oct 2012

In a sea of faces, some worried, some jubilant, Private John Michael Hassett poses for a picture. It is October 1916, Melbourne, and Hassett and other members of his battalion are just about to board the troopship Nestor to leave for war.

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The ‘indescribable horror’

19 Oct 2012

On 3 November 1927, the Union Steamship Company’s RMS Tahiti collided with the Watsons Bay ferry Greycliffe off Bradley’s Head. It became known as Sydney’s worst maritime disaster and etched itself into the minds of those who witnessed scenes of ‘indescribable horror’ on the harbour on that sunny afternoon.

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The plywood yuki project - Gumleaf

17 Oct 2012

The traditional Indigenous watercraft for the Murray River and the Ngarrindjeri community in South Australia  is called a  yuki’. It is made from a single sheet of red gum, taken from the side of a tree so that it already has much of the canoe’s curved shape already in place. 

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Ron and Valerie Taylor and their quest to protect

12 Sep 2012

Three days ago, we lost one of the most highly regarded marine conservationists this country as ever produced – shark expert and underwater filmmaker Ron Taylor. Since the 1960s, Ron and his wife Valerie pioneered underwater photography and rigorously campaigned for marine conservation.

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King Neptune, his wife, a surgeon, a barber and - some bears

07 Sep 2012

The danger of sea travel and the mysteries of the ocean have produced some elaborate and fascinating mythology over the thousands of years humans have been at sea. At the whims of weather and water, the rough and adventurous lives of sailors and seafarers led to the creation of a wide variety of superstitions, omens and rituals.

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A Sterling day out with the family

30 Aug 2012

My latest research efforts have been focussed on an American shipping family, headed by shipowner and master, Captain Edward Robert Sterling. During the 1900s to the 1920s, Samuel J Hood would take his trusty Folmer & Schwing Graflex camera to Sydney Harbour to photograph vessels and their crew and passengers.

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Vivienne T

25 Aug 2012

The Commerce gallery, one of our oldest galleries at the museum, is currently being dismantled to make way for a new temporary exhibition space. Installed before the museum opened to the public in 1991, all of the objects that were on display are being lovingly taken out of their showcases and moved to collection stores.

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The sinking of TAHITI - a disaster captured on film

24 Aug 2012

Passengers peer through windows on the deck of the liner VENTURA and hang over the ship’s railings, completely engrossed in the scene in front of them. Some are still climbing ladders up the side of the vessel, while others wait in lifeboats below.

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