Bligh - Hero or Villain? Manipulated Portrait of Rea-Admiral William Bligh. Courtesy of National Library of Australia.

Bligh - Hero or Villain?

A new exhibition challenging the popularly held stereotype of one of history’s most infamous figures.

Almost universally portrayed as a villain in movies and books, does this view of William Bligh stand scrutiny today?

Bligh - Hero or Villain challenges this popular narrative, looking beyond the Bounty mutiny to explore the many sides of this most infamous of maritime figures.

Judge for yourself - this interactive and immersive exhibition is unlike anything you've ever experienced before.

Step into Bligh's world - climb aboard a replica of the small boat Bligh and crew were set adrift in, see real breadfruit growing, cast your vote on whether you think Bligh was a 'hero' or 'villain' with a real-time voting system, and much more. 

 

This immersive exhibition will come to life before your eyes!

 

 

 

 

William Bligh, By John Smart, 1803, Pencil and watercolour, © National Portrait Gallery, London

BLIGH'S LIFE

ABC Radio: Dr Stephen Gapps, historian and curator from the Australian National Maritime Museum and Admiral Peter Briggs discuss Bligh's life
LISTEN NOW
Bligh menu Yots cafe

FEELING PECKISH?

Enjoy lunch and a cocktail inspired by the incredible story of William Bligh at Yots cafe.

READ MORE

Learn More

Conservator Katie Wood works on Fanny Bligh's letter
Behind the Scenes
a.	Mutiny on the Bounty (The Mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship the Bounty), 1790 by Robert Dodd. Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Videos
Bligh - Hero or Villain? Manipulated Portrait of Rea-Admiral William Bligh. Courtesy of National Library of Australia.
Shop the Bligh Store

Bligh Stories

Read some of our most compelling stories about Bligh, his world, the infamous stories surrounding him, and exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of this new exhibition.

Bligh - Hero or Villain? Manipulated Portrait of Rea-Admiral William Bligh. Courtesy of National Library of Australia.

05 Nov 2019

William Bligh at war
Jeffrey Fox working on the cameo medallion of Sir Joseph Banks

08 Oct 2019

Bligh and Banks: Preserving a piece of history
The Observatory, Point Venus, Otahytey [Tahiti], George Tobin, 1792. State Library of New South Wales (FL1606978)

29 Sep 2019

Bligh and the peoples of the Pacific: The Polynesian threads in European stories
Bligh - Hero or Villain? Manipulated Portrait of Rea-Admiral William Bligh. Courtesy of National Library of Australia.

14 Sep 2019

'A bully and a bastard's bastard': Peter FitzSimons on William Bligh
Plate 19 from  a catalogue of the rare and valuable shells which formed the celebrated collection of the late Mrs Bligh

29 Aug 2019

A sign of love: Elizabeth Bligh's shell collection
Conservator Katie Wood using tweezers to place tiny pieces of Japanese tissue paper to repair the tear across the horizontal fold line

02 Aug 2019

Repairing the Past: Shining a light on Frances Bligh's letter
Bligh - Hero or Villain? Manipulated Portrait of Rea-Admiral William Bligh. Courtesy of National Library of Australia.

17 Jul 2019

Bad Reputation: William Bligh in Popular Culture
Postcard depicting a painting of the mutineers turning Lieutenant Bligh adrift from the Bounty, before 1816, ANMM Collection Gift from Rhonda Coleman, ANMS1140[037]

14 Jun 2019

A mutiny and a mystery
Mr Bligh's Bad Language, by Greg Dening

13 Jun 2019

Problematic Profanity: William Bligh's Bad Language
Heroes of Colonial Encounters - William Bligh, © Helen S Tiernan 2017, ANMM Collection 00055148

13 Jun 2019

William Bligh 101 – who was he and why should we care?
Bligh hero

26 Jan 2019

Bligh and the Rum Rebellion

25 Oct 2018

Governor Bligh, Loyalists and Usurpers

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