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.

Cook and the 'Swan of Litchfield'

19 Apr 2016

When the news of Cook’s death reached London in 1780, it did not make front page news, but rather, was merely noted with a small announcement of a single paragraph. 

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D’Urville and his navy of discovery

19 Feb 2016

It is easy, when reading accounts of early European explorers, to see only the official version they leave behind. The naval reports, detailed charts and an imposing portrait of a confident man in an impressive uniform.

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Commemoration and contestation at Kurnell

11 May 2015

Last week was the 245th anniversary of the arrival of Captain James Cook and HMB Endeavour at Botany Bay, just south of Sydney. Cook and his crew spent 8 days here from 29 April 1770, their first landfall on the Australian coast.

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An expedition of conquest - Australia and the south west Pacific in WWI

01 May 2014

On the afternoon of ANZAC Day this year I didn’t do the usual two-up game in a crowded pub. Instead, I went to a seminar at Sydney University on Australia and the Pacific in WWI. The final in a Sydney Ideas series, three speakers outlined their research into various aspects of what has been described as a ‘neglected war’.

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A mutiny of a different sort

26 Mar 2014

In the history of maritime mutinies, it is the mutiny on the Bounty that is most often recalled, and it is generally assumed that mutinies involved tyrannical captains whose crews have rebelled.

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Reflections on Charlotte medal

26 Nov 2013

The auction of the Charlotte medal in copper this week, focuses the spotlight once again on this fascinating episode from Australia’s earliest colonial history. 

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