Under Southern Skies: Navigating and voyaging around Australia. From the observation of the transit of Venus, to the importance of the night sky in Torres Strait Islander navigation and voyaging – planets and stars unite the long history of all navigators around Australia.

Curriculum references

NSW Syllabuses

Stage 2 years 3 and 4
HT 2.3, HT 2.4

Australian Curriculum 


Program structure

The Navigators, Explorers and Traders tour will primarily visit the exhibition, Under Southern Skies: Navigating and Voyaging around Australia and other galleries to examine early contact with the Australian continent. 

As the word navigators suggests, this tour concentrates on how adventurers navigated the ocean en-route to the Australian continent using traditional and scientific navigation techniques. It also investigates why they undertook their journeys and examines who these adventurers were. Your students will examine navigational techniques of Indigenous people – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, of the people from Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Islands, as well as Indonesian Macassan traders to the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, French and English explorers. 

The tour incorporates a stop at Bamal Badu, a digital artwork by digital producer and historian Brett Leavy, other leading Aboriginal art and cultural practitioners share what life was like in pre-colonial Darling Harbour, the decision by the British to colonise the country, and convict artefacts. 

Great to combine with...

Navigators, Explorers and Traders is ideal to combine with our Endeavour program. A Navigators/Endeavour package is available for a special price. Please ask us when booking.

Booking information

Duration: 60 minute session for an Educator led tour 
Cost: $225 per group with a maximum of 15 students
Ratio: A supervisor/student ratio of 1:15 applies.

Teachers and supervising adults visit FREE of charge within the ratios specified in Plan Your School Visit.

More information

  • A supervisor/student ratio of 1:15 applies.
  • Duration and start/finish times: contingent upon student numbers and will be arranged and explained during booking.
  • Breaks: you're welcome to take recess or lunch at the museum before or after the program, but mid-program breaks must be arranged at time of booking.
  • Entry to exhibitions and vessels: all bookings include FREE entry to museum exhibitions and HMAS Vampire, time permitting. All other vessels require pre-booking. A supervisor/student ratio of 1:15 applies on HMAS Vampire.