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.

Object of the Week

10 Feb 2012

This cabin bed would have been used by a well-to-do passenger travelling to Australia during the 19th century. Many wealthy passengers would supply their own furniture for the journey and fit out their own cabin.

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Object of the Week

09 Dec 2011

From 1788 to the late 1890s, every single immigrant to Australia – convict, assisted or free – shared a common experience they would never forget: a passage under sail in a crowded ship lasting anywhere from 60 to 200 days.

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Object of the Week

03 Nov 2011

In late May 1857 the 1167-ton wooden three-masted sailing ship Dunbar departed London for its second voyage to Australia, carrying at least 63 passengers, 59 crew and a substantial cargo.

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Object of the Week

27 Oct 2011

Captain James Cook became a celebrated figure after his death in 1779, and was commonly depicted in books, on plaques and posters.

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Object of the Week

28 Sep 2011

Sometime between 1839-1845 Frances (Fanny) Bligh, daughter of the renowned William Bligh, wrote this in a letter to a landholder in the colony of New South Wales named George Suttor. The ring Fanny was referring to was this intaglio bloodstone antique ring (00044369) which formerly belonged to her father.

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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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Oceania, or the fifth part of the world

21 Dec 2009

Ever wondered where the geographical term Oceania came from? In the eighteenth century, European explorers were busily charting all the island groups and working out exactly what continents there were – or weren’t – in the Pacific Ocean.

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A French connection to James Cook

04 Dec 2009

I’ve recently been putting some information together for the museum’s website on a series of charts in the museum’s collection that were made by James Cook and Michael Lane between 1763 and 1768.

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