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.

A small selection of the museum's Dunbar collection, purchased with the assistance of the Andrew Thyne Reid Charitable Trust

The melancholy wreck of the 'Dunbar'

20 Aug 2020

On this day in 1857, the Dunbar wrecked near the entrance to Sydney Harbour. With the loss of 121 passengers and crew, the wreck is one of Australia's worst maritime disasters in peacetime. Museum maritime archaeologist Kieran Hosty recounts the fateful night and aftermath of this tragic event.

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Australian military observers being welcomed by Republican officers in Yogyakarta on 14 September 1947. National Library of Australia.

75th anniversary of Indonesian independence

17 Aug 2020

On this day 75 years ago Indonesia declared independence from colonial Dutch rule. Curator Stephen Gapps looks back on this historic event and Australia's role in supporting Indonesia during its struggle. 

 

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The second pilot steamer  Captain Cook (II) was designed by W D Cruikshank and built at Mort’s Dock & Engineering Company in 1892. Used as a naval training ship during World War II, it was scuttled off Sydney in October 1947. Photographed c 1920 by William James Hall. ANMM Collection ANMS1092[015] Gift from Mr and Mrs Glassford

'Not all beer and skittles': Sydney Harbour pilotage

07 Aug 2020

Since colonial times, pilots have guided vessels safely into and out of ports throughout New South Wales. Curator of Ocean Science and Technology Emily Jateff looks into the work of the Port Authority of New South Wales and its highly trained pilots.

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Fold-out engraving from Ferrante Imperato's Dell'Historia Naturale (Naples 1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet. Source: Wikimedia

Cabinet of curiosities

23 Jul 2020

Weird, wonderful, quirky – and odd. What objects are hiding in our collection? And how did they come to be part of the National Maritime Collection?

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One of the Las Balsas rafts at sea, with the other two rafts in the background, 1973. Photograph by John Carnemolla. Image reproduced courtesy Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum

Las Balsas: The world's longest raft journey

16 Jul 2020

Twelve men, seven nationalities, three rafts, six months and one epic 14,000-kilometre trans-Pacific voyage. Curator Kim Tao interviews Luis Guevara from the 1973 Las Balsas expedition, which completed a record-breaking crossing of the Pacific Ocean from Ecuador to Australia on three balsa-wood rafts.

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