workshop 1Yesterday and today we are meeting with a bunch of interesting folks to look at what curriculum material we could develop for our massive new program – the Warships Pavilion. This ambitious project to develop an amazing new visitor facility on our wharf between HMAS Onslow and HMAS Vampire will feature highly interactive experiences that will reinvigorate our visitors’ relationships with our vessels, the waterfront and the broader museum precinct.

The warships experience is comprised of two interrelating components – the construction of a building (referred to as the pavilion) and the development of new interpretation for the vessels (referred to as the experience). The experience development seeks to bring the stories of our vessels to life and significantly enliven the visitors’ experience of our Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessels. The experience seeks to be BOLD, UNIQUE and CONFRONTING.

Interesting and thoughtful presentation from Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) staff about the history and technology national curriculum were followed by Jack Ludden from the J Paul Getty Institute taking us on a journey through cool online resources and the New Media Consortium Horizon reports, with an emphasison the K-12 report; the 2014 Library Edition and the 2013 Museum Edition.

We started a Twitter hashtag #warshipbootcamp where we are posting thoughts, images, resources links so follow us and join the conversation!

More to follow…

The Monuments Men

The first week of September sees the Blu-ray release of The Monuments Men. Imbued with an all-star cast, including George Clooney, Cate Blanchett & Matt Damon, this isn’t just another wartime drama, but the true story of the greatest art heist in history.

Julian Bickersteth of International Conservation Services tells part of that story here.

It is not often that a conservator appears in a movie – we are one of those professions that tend to operate under the radar, hidden away in the back of museums. But when we do hit the limelight we like to do it in style, so it is great to see a conservator taking a lead role in The Monuments Men, played by none other than George Clooney.

George plays the central character of George Stout (called Frank Stokes in the film) who was a key player in the Monuments Men, or to give them their full title, the Monuments, Fine Art and Archives (MFA&A) section. Set up by the Allied Forces in World War II, they were entrusted with the mission of locating and protecting works taken by the Nazi Regime. The film is based on the book of the same name by Robert Esdel, and tells their remarkable story, based around a simple job description: to save as much of the culture of Europe as they could during combat.

Stout packing Michelangelo's Madonna of Bruges in the mines at Altaussee, Austria, July 1945

Stout packing Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges in the mines at Altaussee, Austria, July 1945

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The ‘triumphant procession’ of the ANMEF

troops of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, marching on Randwick Road

Contingent of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, marching on Randwick Road, 18 August 1914.
Photographer: Samuel J Hood Studio, ANMM Collection

On this day, 100 years ago, a contingent of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) marched through Sydney for final embarkation. Fourteen days after Britain declared war on Germany, the ANMEF contingent made their way through streets flooded with tens of thousands of well-wishers. It would be the start of many marches to come throughout the war, and one of the many photographer Samuel J Hood captured with his Folmer and Schwing Graflex camera. Yesterday, a service was held at Government House and re-enactment of the march took place. As Royal Australian Navy (RAN) cadets marched down a soggy Macquarie Street, they paid homage to the ‘khaki clad contingent’ who had taken the same steps a century before under a clear blue sky. Continue reading

The man who lived underwater

What do you say to someone who has lived underwater?

Or has propelled himself through the Greek islands in a human-powered submarine, visited Antarctica and even holds a Guinness World Record for the most electricity generated by pedalling underwater?

Strangely enough meeting underwater pioneer Lloyd Godson led to one of the most interesting and fascinating conversations of my life.

Lloyd Godson

Image courtesy Lloyd Godson

Lloyd Godson

Image courtesy Lloyd Godson

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Myra Too – and the Brian Stewart Collection

How many of us have kept certificates, ribbons or medals, things we won at the school athletics or swimming carnivals, or maybe you have one of those sewn together collections of horse ribbons from pony club expeditions that started at ungodly hours in the morning? Perhaps you can go better and there are some district football or cricket club trophies that need dusting off if you are brave enough to show the family. What if you had a World Championship tucked away in the cupboard?

Brian Stewart does, and this is his Collection from when he sailed on Myra Too, on display with the replica champion 18-foot skiff. The original Myra Too was built at Berrys Bay by legendary Sydney shipwright Billy Barnett, now 99 years old. In the 1951 season Myra Too won the NSW, Australian and World Championships and with Billy as skipper, it was crewed by forward hand Sid Ferguson, sheet hand Fred Evennett, jib hand Andy Costyn, swinger Jack Davies, and Brian Stewart was just the bailer boy.

Billy and Brian are the only surviving crewmembers, and were reunited at the naming ceremony for the replica in March this year. The pair ‘bookend’ the crew hierarchy so to speak, and Brian has cherished memories of being a teenager amongst men, now over 60 years ago. He raced on Myra Too and the following season on Myra III.

Brian Stewart shows his sailing scrapbook to Billy Barnett at the launch of the replica Myra Too. The scrapbook and replica are both currently on display. ANMM Photo by Zoe McMahon

Brian Stewart shows his sailing scrapbook to Billy Barnett at the launch of the replica Myra Too. The scrapbook and replica are both currently on display. ANMM Photo by Zoe McMahon

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Botany Basics 101: with Dr Matt Renner & Dr Trevor Wilson


Dr Matt Renner and Dr Trevor Wilson

The HMB Endeavour team has partnered with the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney to bring you our first themed voyage, Botany Basics, which sets sail on 8 – 12 September.

Sailing from Sydney to Newcastle via Pittwater, this special botany themed voyage features two very special guests from the Gardens, Dr Matt Renner and Dr Trevor Wilson.

Dr Renner and Dr Wilson kindly sat with us to tell us what they were most looking forward to about their maiden voyage. Continue reading

After 82 years, still cruising the Southern Oceans

Going through the museum’s archives I came across an old photo album featuring a yacht and two men photographed during the 1930s – nothing unexpected for a maritime museum’s collection. Little did I know that I would fall in love with the boat’s story.


Maluka sitting high and dry on the Victorian coast ANMM collection

It all started in 1932 when George and William (Willy) Clark (the ‘Lucky Clarks’ as they became known), two brothers from Sydney who were also wealthy foresters, decided to build the 9 metre gaff-rigged cutter Maluka of Kermandie following the design in Huon pine by Cliff Gale.

In 1933, the brothers took Maluka on a five month cruise off Far North Queensland, followed by a trip to Lord Howe Island the following year. The album documents these trips with numerous photos of Maluka at sea and the adventurous, care-free life of the brothers, fishing, going for picnics in remote places and mixing with the locals, reinforcing the romantic ideas of escape and private travel that have fascinated people and contributed to the characterisation of cruising sailors as bohemians and eccentrics. Continue reading

National Science Week at the Museum

National Science Week 2014 is fast approaching and it will be a week packed full of discovery, experiments and adventure for all ages. SO, if you seek to learn new things, try something different and above all, have a fantastic fun-filled time, then the museum is for you.

Open to all Apple users, (just present the Tag Town app at our front of house desk for entry): ‘Hide, Seek, Dive and Peek @Anmmuseum’ is on from 16th of August to the 19th of August.  Users can start playing “Tag Town” – a photographic scavenger hunt where pictures lead players, assisted by GPS, to discover real locations. Played in the real world via mobile app, players swipe through the image clues on their mobile device and when they find the location in the real-world, they snap and upload their own photo of it. Tag Town taps into the fun and creativity of photography and builds an expanding collection of shared photos of the local area’s most interesting features and locations.

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MYRA TOO has arrived!

Back in late 2012 when vessels curator David Payne began drawing up designs for the build of a replica 18-footer, I doubt he could have foreseen the fun we were going to have along the way with this wonderful project.

Myra Too 2nd and 3rd rigs, drawing by David Payne

Myra Too 2nd and 3rd rigs, drawing by David Payne

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“Design debauchery” at its finest.

Whilst looking though the artefacts from the Dunbar shipwreck, it is difficult to imagine that anything amongst the dull metal was ever intended to decorate people’s homes. Ship fixtures blend with metal domestic and commercial goods and all have acquired the dull lacklustre look acquired by years under the sea.

Artefact from the Dunbar wreck.  ANMM Collection.

Artefact from the Dunbar wreck.
ANMM Collection.

Yet amongst the piles of screws, nails and concretion are some lovely examples of metal work in the shape of flowers and leaves. These pieces had obviously been part of some elaborate Victorian pieces of furniture intended to adorn the houses of Sydney. Even more lovely was when I was able to find not only the maker of some of these pieces but also what they would have originally looked like. Not so dull after all it seems! Continue reading