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.

60 years since the end of the dictation test

08 Oct 2018

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the abolition of the controversial dictation test, which was a central feature of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. This was one of three pieces of legislation, together with the Pacific Island Labourers Act and the Post and Telegraph Act , which were passed after Federation in 1901 and colloquially known as the White Australia policy.

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Cane farmers

Operation Kangaroo

06 Aug 2018

Sixty years ago today, the first contingent of assisted immigrants arrived under the Spanish migration agreement’s Operación Canguro (‘Operation Kangaroo’) to work as cane-cutters in north Queensland.

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Flagging a mystery in Canton

17 Jul 2018

When I visit maritime museums, I am always drawn to the ‘China trade’ paintings of Canton (now Guangzhou), the southern Chinese port to which all foreign trade was restricted from 1757 under the Qing dynasty’s Canton System.

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New Ideas on Old Wars - The Archaeology of War

23 May 2018

Once upon a time, the archaeologist’s toolkit was likely to consist of a shovel, trowel, bucket, brush, stakes and string. Today it includes a multitude of technological tools such as magnetometers, drones, ground-penetrating radar, 3D imaging and all sorts of acronyms including DGPS, LIDAR, ROVs, AUVs and many more.

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Finding AE1

21 Mar 2018

It is more than a century since Australia’s first submarine, HMAS AE1, disappeared without trace in the waters off Papua New Guinea. Its fate remained a mystery until late last year, when the most recent of many searches finally found its wreck.

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