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.

Main image: Dock workers and floating crane / Titan Darling Harbour / c. 1947. David Moore. ANMM Collection 00030758

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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


HMT Queen Mary assisted by a tug


Hobart Town 1856


Arch in the Sky


Emeret Nar: ghost net canoe


The Charlotte Medal


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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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Australian naval patrol boats

09 Feb 2011

Every four months or so we change a showcase on the ramp outside the Theatre to highlight some recent acquisitions to the National Maritime Collection. We take it in turns to show off our collecting areas and this time it’s mine and I’ve chosen the topic of Royal Australian Navy patrol boats.

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Hands on discovery with the touch trolley in Planet Shark!

02 Feb 2011

A visit to the museum. For many people this idea conjures visions of gloomy dark spaces with mysterious objects cordoned off from human hands in glass cabinets, standing under the watchful gaze of security personnel. The modern museum and the Maritime in particular seeks to overturn this convention, offering interactive exhibits that invite hands on learning. This summer in Planet Shark the touch trolley invites audiences to pick up and pass around shark artefacts for a sensory and close-up discovery session.

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Q: What was HMAS Inverell?

15 Nov 2010

A: One of 60 Bathurst class minesweepers built in Australian shipyards during the Government’s World War II shipbuilding program.  Inverell seems an odd name for a warship, doesn’t it?  Well, the corvettes – as the class was more often called – were named after Australian regional cities and towns.

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A musket barrel made of copper?

08 Feb 2010

The Museum has several items from the 1629 wreck of the Batavia on display in the Navigators gallery. One is labelled as a musket barrel. However it is made of thin copper sheeting. Either the Dutch were very brave souls to fire such a thing, or there is more to this ‘musket barrel’ than meets the eye! 

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