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.

Restoring hope and a fishing boat called ‘Freedom’

14 Jun 2012

With all the rain in Sydney recently, you could be forgiven for forgetting what blue sky looks like. But for the Lu family, who arrived in Australia in 1977 on the Vietnamese refugee boat Tu Do, the colour sky blue is forever etched in their memories as the colour of freedom.

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24 years ago today

05 Jun 2012

It’s been 24 years since Australian long-distance sailor, Kay Cottee, returned from her record breaking 189-day solo circumnavigation of the globe in her yacht, Blackmores First Lady. She was the first woman to circumnavigate the world alone and unassisted.

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Canoe building in Sydney

14 May 2012

Last Wednesday’s fine weather had everyone out enjoying it if they could. For me and 10 others, it was perfect for nawi construction. We were building more tied-bark canoes, probably the first ones to be built on the shores of Sydney Harbour in well over a century.

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Operation Rimau, the tragic sequel to the success of MV Krait

09 Mar 2012

At the wharves of the Australian National Maritime Museum sits a small unassuming Japanese fishing vessel. Next to the destroyer HMAS Vampire and the submarine HMAS Onslow, the craft looks even less impressive. However it certainly deserves its place as a historic vessel, as a symbol of one of Australia’s most daring wartime undercover operations and as a reminder of an ill-fated and tragic sequel.

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How to park a lightship

17 Nov 2011

In the misty rain of an early Sydney morning the museum’s fleet section moved CLS4 – aka Carpentaria lightship – from the main museum wharves back to its normal berth at Wharf 7.  Nudged along by our tug Bareki and towed by the Arvor workboat the operation was seamlessly completed before most people arrived at work. All in a day’s work for fleet!

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What’s in a ship painting?

25 May 2010

Ship portraits can be rather tedious to some. They usually only convey something of interest to those who know particular details about the ship’s construction.

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John Louis

To sheath or not to sheath?

04 Mar 2010

In 1987 the Australian National Maritime Museum acquired a pearling lugger from Broome. The John Louis was built in 1957 and operated for 30 years in the pearling industry in north-western Australia. 

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A musket barrel made of copper?

08 Feb 2010

The Museum has several items from the 1629 wreck of the Batavia on display in the Navigators gallery. One is labelled as a musket barrel. However it is made of thin copper sheeting. Either the Dutch were very brave souls to fire such a thing, or there is more to this ‘musket barrel’ than meets the eye! 

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Admiral Pâris’ amazing encyclopedia

07 Jan 2010

It may seem unlikely that a naval officer who fought in the Crimean War and who led the introduction of steam engines and ironclad warships into the French Navy would possess a delicate painterly hand. It also seems unlikely such a man would favour rustic scenes of Malyasian dock workers or Indian fishing boats and their crews. 

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