Due to the sheer size of our collection, only a fraction of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s objects can be on display at any one time. 

Don't let our lack of physical space get in the way of making new discoveries. You can explore a rich and diverse collection of artefacts online ranging from rocket boats to gold buttons, and discover a wealth of remarkable stories.

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Colonial Wallpapers - Pacific Encounters

 

Based on the conventions and elements of early European sea charts, the painting 'Colonial Wallpapers - Pacific Encounters' incorporates a central compass rose, rumb lines and wind gods in a reconstruction of the Pacific.

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From the collection

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Illustrated log of the whaling barque TERROR

Illustrated log of the Terror

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HMT Queen Mary assisted by a tug

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Hobart Town 1856

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Arch in the Sky

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Emeret Nar: ghost net canoe

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The Charlotte Medal

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Designing the SIEV X memorial

29 Sep 2011

On 18 October 2001 a decrepit, overcrowded fishing boat embarked from Sumatra, Indonesia, carrying more than 400 asylum seekers who had fled Iraq and Afghanistan. It foundered the next day en route to the offshore Australian territory of Christmas Island, drowning 353 people – 146 children, 142 women and 65 men. The boat would come to be known as SIEV X (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel Unknown).

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Object of the Week

28 Sep 2011

Sometime between 1839-1845 Frances (Fanny) Bligh, daughter of the renowned William Bligh, wrote this in a letter to a landholder in the colony of New South Wales named George Suttor. The ring Fanny was referring to was this intaglio bloodstone antique ring (00044369) which formerly belonged to her father.

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Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

19 Sep 2011

The immense wealth of the Spanish Empire was both attractive and vulnerable to pirates, as the great galleons sailed along well-defined tracks and at particular seasons towards the narrow passage separating central and south America.

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Object of the Week

15 Sep 2011

It is estimated that between 12,000 and 15,000 Australian women married American servicemen during World War II. Some of the women emigrated from Australia and made a new life for themselves in the United States, while others returned to their homelands in the years after the war – with or without their husbands.

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Talk Like a Pirate Day – 19 September 2011

01 Sep 2011

This pirate hat was worn by Harold Tanner and Marcelle Rose as part of their stage show performance as Poncho and Bubbles the clowns. Poncho and Bubbles were clowns who worked on cruise ships for almost 20 years. From the 1970s cruise lines such as Sitmar and P&O pitched their cruises as affordable family fun. Professional staff, activities and entertainers were provided for children, leaving parents free to relax. Poncho and Bubbles are one of the longest running clown shows in Australia (1976-1995).

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RelationShips: Pincushions, sweetheart brooches and love tokens

31 Aug 2011

Living in a world where loved ones are little more than just a phone call or email away, it’s hard to imagine the anguish of separation felt by those whose loved ones were oceans apart, with little or no contact. An evocative pincushion in the Australian National Maritime Museum’s collection (00006919) highlights the disconnection felt by many naval and merchant sailors in the 19th and 20th centuries from their loved ones. 

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Antarctica at the museum

29 Jun 2011

Our current exhibition from London – Scott’s Last Expedition – has given me the opportunity to check out our own Antarctic collection to see what we have.  And we have a surprising amount of material relating to Antarctic exploration covering some four centuries.  It includes maps and charts, including an Ortelius view published in the 16th century, a 1714 view of the southern hemisphere, and one that shows the 1870s Challenger expedition of 1872-1875 which was a scientific expedition funded by the British Admiralty and the Royal Society.  It made many discoveries that laid the foundation of modern oceanography and was named after the expedition ship HMS Challenger – which had been deployed to the Australia Station at one time.  One of the Space Shuttles was named Challenger in honour of this expedition.

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Scuttling naval ships

19 Apr 2011

Wednesday 13 April 2011 saw the former Royal Australian Navy (RAN) escort frigate HMAS Adelaide scuttled off Avoca Beach, near Terrigal on the NSW mid-north coast. Love the idea or hate it, Adelaide is not the first RAN ship to end up as an artificial reef. Since 1994 we’ve been recycling naval ships for new uses as dive sites and reefs with HMAS Derwent off Rottnest Island, WA; HMAS Swan off Dunsborough, WA (1997); HMAS Perth in King George Sound, WA (2001); HMAS Hobart off Yankalilla Bay, SA (2002); HMAS Brisbane off the Sunshine Coast, Qld (2005); and HMAS Canberra off the Bellarine Peninsula, VIC (2009).

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