Supporting communities protecting Australia's maritime heritage

Australia has an extensive network of regional maritime museums and organisations that help preserve and maintain Australia’s maritime legacy. The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) assists these groups in their collection, conservation and display of objects of historical national maritime significance.

Kevin Sumption, Director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum said, “We have arguably the best network of regional maritime museums in the world, protecting the rich depth of this nation’s maritime history for future generations.”

The Australian National Maritime Museum is pleased to announce the awarding of over $125,000 to organisations and community groups to support projects promoting Australia’s maritime heritage.

MMAPSS is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. The grants are provided from MMAPSS while the in-kind and internship costs are covered separately by the museum.

The scheme provides grants of up to $15,000, internships and in-kind support from Australian National Maritime Museum experts (which includes support for staff and volunteers from regional and remote organisations) to learn how to develop educational and public programs that help promote Australia’s maritime collections.

Mr. Sumption continued, “Maritime museums and historical societies play an important role in preserving and sharing Australia’s maritime heritage and these grants will ensure important maritime objects are available now and for future generations.”

With 44 project applications requesting over $480,000 in funding and two internship applications, the MMAPSS selection committee had the unenviable task of deciding between many worthwhile proposals. Ultimately, grants and in-kind support have been awarded to support 25 projects and two internships. Areas affected by the 2019-20 bushfires were prioritised in the grants process in this round. Four successful applicants were bushfire affected, including one project that would benefit eight organisations on the NSW South Coast.

“The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is one of the ways the museum can assist and protect the nation’s maritime heritage and use our expertise to help develop smaller institutions around the country. We are pleased to be able to send some much needed support, particularly to areas that were affected by bushfire, to organisations run by volunteers, which in many cases, have been hit extra hard,” Mr. Sumption continued.

Projects include the physical restoration of vessels or strategic planning to enable their preservation, support to develop information or educational resources for the community to understand the value of particular projects. The projects highlight the depth of heritage Australia has in its maritime past and the passion of individuals around the nation to pass this knowledge on.

Further funds and in-kind support will also support museums and historical societies across Australia to carry out conservation work and assessments, catalogue heritage objects and develop educational material.

2020 recipients by state


  • Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre Inc. – Professional collection management/Interpretation & design advice
  • Clyde River & Batemans Bay Historical Society Inc- Establishing an online community for South Coast heritage
  • Cundletown and Lower Manning Historical Soc and Cundletown Museum – Preparation of a Vessel Management Plan for the Sunlight
  • Jervis Bay Maritime Museum - Funding towards the re‑floating of the Kingfisher
  • Lawrence Historical Society Inc - Funding for the conservation of the Cedar Queen
  • Nelson Head Lighthouse and Rescue Station Reserve Trust - Restoration and refurbishment of the Inner Light Room
  • Port Macquarie Historical Society Inc. – Preservation Needs Assessment to identity at risk maritime items
  • South West Rocks Maritime Precinct Inc (internship) – Development of curatorial, digital, education and conservation techniques


  • Emu Park Historical Museum Society Inc - Interpretation and design advice on the collection and displays
  • National Trust Australia Queensland - James Cook Museum – Maritime Endeavour Gallery refresh
  • Queensland Maritime Museum Association – Project management costs for Collection Management System
  • Rockhampton Art Gallery - Graphic design for self-guided tours of Rockhampton


  • Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association Inc – Replacement of sign for Contemplation Seat
  • Mannum Dock Museum of River History – Design and final production for new entry
  • Port Adelaide Historical Society – Preparation of a Conservation Management Plan for the HMAS Falie Wheelhouse and Cabins
  • Rural City of Murray Bridge - Murray Bridge River Boat, Rail and Steam Group Inc. – Vessel Management Plan for the Union


  • Bass Strait Maritime Centre – Development of touring and educational program based on Bass Strait
  • Maritime Museum of Tasmania – Development of a photogrammetry kit for loan to regional museums


  • Islamic Museum of Australia – Design and installation of the display and exhibit of a Makassan prahu (perahu) model sailing vessel
  • Mallacoota and District Historical Society Inc (Bunker museum) – Preparation of a Vessel Management Plan for the SS Riverina and for a diorama to present the life boat
  • Mission to Seafarers Victoria – Development of contemporary interpretation of European encounters
  • Mission to Seafarers Victoria (internship) – Development of curatorial projects, exhibition management and collection management
  • National Trust of Australia - Victoria – Research to support the development and writing of historical stories for the Polly Woodside
  • Port of Echuca Discovery Centre – Workshop for staff and volunteers on preservation
  • Queenscliffe Maritime Museum Inc - Preparation of a Vessel Management Plan for the Pilot Vessel 'Mavis III'.


  • Albany’s Historic Whaling Station – Interpretation of scrimshaw collection and the maritime significance of scrimshaw craft
  • Irwin Districts Historical Society – Transcription of interviews for Pullin’ the Pots Oral History Project

For more details on the successful recipients please go to 2020 grants.

For the media release from the Australian Government please go to:


The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) offers funding to regional museums and organisations to help preserve or display objects of national and historical maritime significance.

It also supports staff or volunteers, from remote or regional organisations, to spend time learning specific skills and making valuable connections.

Many cultural institutions around the country care for maritime items of historical and national significance. The museum supports and encourages efforts to conserve and display unique local objects for today’s audiences and future generations.

Funding is provided by the Australian Federal Government and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The scheme gives grants of up to $15,000 for projects that fall into one of these categories:

  • Collection management (registration, documentation and storage)
  • Conservation (preservation, vessel restoration, conservation work/treatments and professional assessments)
  • Presentation (research, development of exhibitions, establishing interpretative displays and workshops)
  • Development of relevant education or public programs which make collections more accessible to audiences
  • Museological training for paid or unpaid workers of not-for-profit organisations caring for Australia's maritime collections.
  • Internships funding of up to $3,000 is available to help develop museological skills and knowledge to increase standards of practice in caring for and managing maritime collections (provided by the Australian National Maritime Museum).

Since 1995, the scheme has given over $1,950,000 in support of over 460 projects to organisations in Queensland, New South Wales (including Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands), Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The scheme has also supported over 60 internships since 1995.

The next round of funding is anticipated to open for applications in February 2021.

About the Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney is the national centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology. As a Commonwealth cultural institution the museum is committed to fulfilling its national mandate by developing programs and opportunities to share its expertise, collection and the national maritime story with regional communities throughout Australia.


For further information or interviews please contact:

Steve Riethoff
Head of Communication
M: 0417 047 837