For the love of oceans! The Australian National Maritime Museum is launching an exciting new monthly talk series in 2019, Ocean Talks, with a range of fascinating marine experts who will challenge everything you know about the depths (and shallows) of earth’s oceans.

The psychology of sharks, the fastest man on water, and chasing sea monsters: Maritime Museum launches new talk series

This new series of talks offers a unique opportunity to immerse in the cutting edge of marine science, provocative art, and the latest in thought leadership – all up close and personal.

The first in a series of nine, A Life With Sharks on 7 February will see two of Australia’s leading shark experts - diver and conservationist Valerie Taylor and neuroscientist and neuropsychologist Dr Richard Gates - discuss how sharks’ brains work and some unique insight into shark behaviour.

Internationally renowned filmmakers Sally Aitken and Bettina Dalton will also be screening exclusive excerpts from their upcoming biopic on Valerie - The Real Jaws, which charts the diving legend’s life over 5 decades.

The evening will take a deep dive into how attitudes towards sharks have evolved over time, why Valerie evolved from shark hunter to shark lover and what the future is for sharks in our oceans. Many people have said what Jane Goodall is to chimps, Valerie is to sharks. 

This fascinating evening will be hosted by the maritime museum’s Daina Fletcher, curator of contemporary Chinese art exhibition On Sharks and Humanity and includes exclusive access to the exhibition and light refreshments. The highly acclaimed exhibition provokes thought on global shark conservation as well as the unique ecological issues facing Australia of our own endangered shark species. 

“Our oceans really are sitting at a critical point in history right now, and the Museum has never had a more vital role in marine conservation, exploration and sharing the wonder and mystery of our oceans,” comments Kevin Sumption PSM, Director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Some other exciting talks in the series include:

Sharks, Humans and Jazz: Ever wondered if shark repellent actually works, or if sharks can hear sounds underwater? In this lively discussion with three of Australia’s leading shark ecologists, discover how humans and sharks interact, including findings from an experiment where jazz music was played to Port Jackson Sharks, learn how sharks are tracked with acoustic receivers and ponder the question - if sharks were humans what personality type would they be? This ‘in conversation’ evening also includes an immersive virtual reality experience following live sharks tagged in Sydney Harbour. Thursday 4 April (6-8pm)

Fastest Team on Water: On the 8th October 1978 Australian motorboat racer Ken Warby became the fastest man on water travelling at 511.10 kmh in The Spirit of Australia – a boat he built in a Sydney backyard. 41 years later Warby’s son David is set to put his own jet boat Spirit2 to the test – a second generation jet-powered hydroplane. The attempt will take place mid to late 2019 on Blowering Dam – the same stretch of water Ken broke both world records. David’s aim is to not only beat his father’s record, but to extend it to 550 kmh. Thursday 6 June (6-8pm). 

Bligh: Hero or Villain?: Almost universally portrayed as a villain in movies and books, does this view of one of the maritime world’s most infamous figures William Bligh stand up to scrutiny today? What’s not in doubt is that Bligh’s life was extraordinary – he caused controversy on land and sea. He was an officer of the Royal Navy, a survivor of a brutal mutiny at sea, and a Governor of NSW whose actions caused a military coup that became known as the Rum Rebellion. Come and judge for yourself as we hear from author Peter Fitzsimmons who will argue Bligh as tyrant and villain, together with Rear Admiral Peter Briggs who will argue that Bligh was a heroic figure and strong leader. Thursday 8 August (6-8pm)

Hunting Prehistoric Sea Monsters: Millions of years ago, the Earth’s oceans were home to some of the largest, fiercest and most successful predators ever! While dinosaurs ruled the land, huge prehistoric reptiles hunted the depths of the oceans. Don’t miss out on this rare chance to hear from renowned paleontologist Dr Espen Knutsen who travels the world searching for evidence of these prehistoric predators. He’ll introduce some of these incredible creatures, share his adventures and reveal insights into some of the exciting discoveries he’s made. Espen has described five new species of Jurassic marine reptiles and hunted monsters in Australia, the Arctic, The Netherlands and USA. Thursday 7 November (6-8pm).

Ocean Talks tickets include exclusive access to corresponding exhibitions and displays in the hour before the talks (5-6pm).