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.

Sabina Escobar

I am a Registrar at the Australian National Maritime Museum

Pete O'Sullivan: A life of motorcycles, cars, swimwear and cattle

24 Nov 2016

In this island country, the coastline stretches over a distance of more than 36,000 kilometres, so it’s no surprise that Australians are obsessed with water, beaches and water sports. It is this obsession with water that has contributed to Australia’s reputation as a nation of swimmers, surfers and beach goers.

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Scrimshaw: A Whaler’s Pastime

12 Feb 2016

The other day, I was walking through the Museum’s stores, when a strange object caught my eye: a neatly framed pair of odd looking dolls with very puffed up hair, which reminded me of the very elaborate 1980s hairstyles like the one Joan Collins wore on her Dynasty days.

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Being a hero is all about timing: Oskar Speck's kayak voyage

28 May 2015

As I was examining the letters, journals, photographs and reports of Oskar Speck, as though they were parts of a giant jigsaw puzzle, I started piecing together the life and the incredible voyage of this intrepid German, who spent seven years and four months paddling a collapsible kayak from his native town of Altona in Hamburg all the way to Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.

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Who said sand paper was dull?

21 Oct 2014

In 2012 the museum acquired a vast collection of negatives of Australian commercial photographer Gervais Purcell (1919-1999). Purcell worked for a variety of clients such as David Jones, P&O, Ansett Australia, Jantzen and many others.

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After 82 years, still cruising the Southern Oceans

05 Aug 2014

Going through the museum’s archives I came across an old photo album featuring a yacht and two men photographed during the 1930s – nothing unexpected for a maritime museum’s collection. Little did I know that I would fall in love with the boat’s story.

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A tale of love and adventure between two teakwood panels

02 Jun 2014

The museum recently acquired the journal of the Liverpool barque Loch Bredan, by Chief Officer Robert Robertson Smythe. This wonderful logbook/journal was written and beautifully illustrated by Smythe during his 123-day voyage from Sydney to Liverpool via Cape Horn from the 25 July 1902 to 24 November 1902.

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Life, death and Antarctic rations

21 Mar 2014

I had the privilege of documenting and registering the museum’s recently acquired collection of 184 glass lantern slides and 107 positive transparencies by Herbert Ponting, Charles Reginald Ford and others.

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