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.

Two-footer recollections

30 Oct 2009

From the age of five years I was interested in sailing boats. Each Sunday I watched and helped the sailors rig their boats in Mort Bay, Balmain, and as I got older I would be invited to crew in a boat as  the bailer boy, on a windy day.

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Building a model skiff racer

28 Oct 2009

The delightfully comical proportions of racing model skiffs are rather confounding for many people. How does something so short, so wide, so deep – and with all that sail – actually work?

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Wooden ice skates reveal fascinating tale

07 Oct 2009

When 13 year-old Rob Davids migrated to Australia from Holland almost 60 years ago, he didn’t realise his most treasured possession –  a pair of 1930s wooden ice skates  – would come to symbolise his expectations and misconceptions about the new country he would call home.

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Come perform at the museum

30 Sep 2009

The museum loves music and encourages school bands to perform on its forecourt. So far we’ve had school bands from South Australia, Coffs Harbour and recently Lyneham High School from the ACT. We’d love to hear your school band perform. It’s a great way to get performance experience and show Sydney what your school band is made of.

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Project Wrap Up

27 Jul 2009

A year’s passed and I’ve finally finished researching and re-cataloguing the museum’s collection of maritime small arms and accessories. All up, I’ve looked at nearly fifty guns, swords, knives and pikes, as well as one walking-stick rumoured to house a sword. Sadly, it turned out to be a simple cane, and thus fell outside my brief.

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Australian National Maritime Museum

Like Poncho, Like Pimple

10 Jun 2009

 After watching the rebellion of James T. Kirk in the recently released epic film Star Trek I got to thinking about the pressure of following in the footsteps of one’s parents, especially a parent like George Kirk, who in an alternate reality, served as captain of the Kelvin for a mere 12 minutes yet saved over 800 souls. Don’t stop reading- I promise to not reference Star Trek again in this blog. The idea I am trying to introduce here is the desire to continue one’s family legacy and birthright through an occupation. Consider this; a legitimate reason for enlisting in the armed services today is to consolidate and continue the family tradition. Like father, like son, as the old adage goes.  Wandering around the Australian National Maritime Museum I saw this paradigm play out in front of my eyes via an exhibit on display. Yes, that’s right. You’ve guessed it. Sons and grandsons carrying on the naval tradition as clown entertainers onboard passenger liners.

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The Maritime as a collection of curiosities

20 May 2009

As a volunteer intern at the Australian National Maritime Museum it has come to my attention that museum personnel are inherently just as fascinating and enigmatic as the objects which are kept and displayed in the exhibits.   In my quest to find a suitable artifact in the Maritime to be the focus of this blog, I encountered an entertaining and unsuspecting specimen in the form of a security guard. He has often regaled me with comical anecdotes as I’ve passed him on my way to lunch from time to time and as such I was pleasantly surprised to find a familiar face wandering around the galleries. My questions about any ‘curious’ objects left him pondering for a moment or two before he proceeded to detail to me a rumour he had heard concerning a display statue outside the ‘Passengers’ exhibit. The statue is a depiction of a young boy seated amongst travel baggage grasping a teddy bear.   Young child traveller

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On and off the HMVS Cerberus

30 Apr 2009

My name’s Dave Earl and, as reported in my last post, I’ve been busy researching the museum’s collection of naval small arms.One of the attractions of this project has been following the lives and careers of the seamen who owned used the objects I’ve been examining. Scattered amongst drier details of calibres, dates, and manufacturers are stories, details of past lives.
One interesting example is found in the service records of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Edward Mullins. Mullins served as a Sick Berth Steward on the HMAS Sydney (I) when it engaged with the German light cruiser SMS Emden in November 1914. During and after this battle, Australia’s first as a federated nation, Mullins “constantly attended [the] sick and wounded uninterruptedly for 6 days, including terribly severe cases which were received from SMS Emden.” As a result of his actions, Mullins was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, one of only 17 issued to Australians during the First World War.

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Australian National Maritime Museum

Titanic anniversary

15 Apr 2009

This week marks the 97th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on the night of the 14th April1912 on it’s maiden voyage to New York.

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