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.

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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A model tale

21 Dec 2009

One of the museum’s volunteer model makers recently donated to the museum a scale model of an early colonial Australian ship that saw many adventures in its comparatively short but very well traveled life. HMS Mermaid was a single masted, copper-sheathed, iron-fastened cutter of 84 tons.

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Navigating without instruments

04 Dec 2009

Many objects have fascinating stories and interesting people associated with them that we often don’t get a chance to talk about in detail. None more so than a group of five model canoes and outriggers from various Pacific Islands that I have recently been researching for the museum’s collection.

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