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 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.

Read more

Australian-Chinese junks and sampans

27 Feb 2014

Every Sunday and Wednesday mornings we would watch for the sails of the Chinese junks to come sailing up the river one behind the other. Red, white & black beacons guided them. Some sails were snowy white, some had …huge patches on and some were old and yellow.

Read more

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. 

Read more

Mrs Cook's Valentine's Day

14 Feb 2013

On Valentine’s Day in 1779 Captain James Cook was killed in the Hawaiian Islands. Ironically perhaps, his death was the beginning of a long love affair with Cook by generations of people in the Western world who revered the great navigator. It was also the beginning of 56 long years for his wife Elizabeth Cook, without the love of her life.

Read more

The Prince of Pickpockets who stole our imagination with a swagger

16 Nov 2012

Everyone loves a good convict story, and George Barrington’s chequered life of misdeeds, ‘dissipation and licentiousness’ fails to disappoint. A real life ‘Artful Dodger’, Barrington remains one of the most notorious convicts in history. He also played a role in one of the greatest literary frauds, a myth that perpetuates to this day.

Read more

Shaping the unknown land to the South

07 Aug 2012

Maps are fantastic storytellers. At first glance they provide a collection of scientific data, information to be read like a coded book, a tool for guidance. However as they evolve into historical items and beyond their practical use, maps offer additional and unique dimensions to historical narratives.

Read more

Object of the Week: The mystery of the murderess Jane Cardonell

24 Feb 2012

This broadsheet newsprint tells the tragic tale of a convict’s wife who was sent to the Bedlam asylum in London after murdering a crew member of the shipwrecked vessel Flora. The ship was wrecked in 1832 en route from Australia, however the truth at the heart of this tale of murder and madness is a little harder to find…

Read more