Exhibition space in the Navigators gallery at the Australian National Maritime Museum


Charting paths of discovery to Australia

As you enter this exhibition, look up!

The ceiling of stars shows the constellations that once helped guide navigators to Australia. If you watch long enough, you can see them twinkle!

Successive waves of sailors and settlers have navigated to our shores over thousands of years. Australia has been 'discovered' many times, some of them recorded, some not.

This exhibition takes us from early contacts with Asia, like the Makassan trepang trade in northern Australia, through to the European era of Dutch, French and British explorers. Follow the European story through historical maps and charts, instruments and paintings.

The exhibition also includes:

  • A piece from Captain Cook's ship HMS Resolution
  • A larger-than-life painting of the French in Tahiti
  • Artefacts recovered from Dutch shipwrecks
  • The 1602 Blaeu celestial globe

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