Maritime archaeology at the Viking Age site of Birka

A small selection of maritime Birka finds

A small selection of maritime Birka finds

This is part of a series by ANMM curator Dr Stephen Gapps who received an Endeavour Executive Fellowship from April to July 2016. Stephen is based at the Swedish History Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. He will be posting regular blog updates about Viking Age history and archaeology over the next few weeks under the blog category Journeys.

In my first week of a professional development fellowship based at the Historiska Museet in Stockholm I was pleasantly surprised to be handling Viking Age objects and assisting in selecting some for a display of maritime finds at the famous World Heritage site Birka.

Continue reading

Cook and Banks: Charting the rumoured great Southern Land

This lithographed is based on the drawings by Louisa Mundy, the wife of Colonel Godfrey Mundy. It was published in Colonel Mundy's 'Our Antipodes' in 1852. This work depicts Government House, Sydney, sitting high on a hill overlooking Farm Cove and Sydney Harbour. Image: ANMM Collection 00000889.

This lithographed is based on the drawings by Louisa Mundy, the wife of Colonel Godfrey Mundy. It was published in Colonel Mundy’s ‘Our Antipodes’ in 1852. This work depicts Government House, Sydney, sitting high on a hill overlooking Farm Cove and Sydney Harbour. Image: ANMM Collection 00000889.

To celebrate the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney 200th anniversary, the Australian National Maritime Museum and Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney will offering a joint video conference for year 3 and 4 students History and Science.

Continue reading

Twitter tour of Rough Medicine for school students

Rough Medicine
The Australian National Maritime Museum in partnership with the NSW Department of Education will share the Rough Medicine – Life and Death in the Age of Sail exhibition with teachers and students in a #TwitterTour.

Continue reading

Lost at Sea: Finding Longitude with Ships, Clocks & Stars

Ships, Clocks and Stars.

Ships, Clocks and Stars.

The problem of longitude – how to determine your location in an east-west direction at sea – plagued sea travel for centuries. The lack of reliable methods to determine it led to dangerous, long and costly voyages. The loss of cargo, ships and lives was high and demanded an immediate solution.

Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act of 1714. The Act lead to the greatest scientific breakthrough in maritime history: the ability to determine a ship’s position at sea. This discovery brought together two solutions to calculate longitude: developing accurate timekeepers for seafaring and tracking the movement of celestial bodies.

Continue reading

Cook and the ‘Swan of Litchfield’

Death announcement of Captain Cook in the London Gazette, 18 January, 1780 (source – British Library)

Death announcement of Captain Cook in the London Gazette, 18 January, 1780 (source – British Library)

When the news of Cook’s death reached London in 1780, it did not make front page news, but rather, was merely noted with a small announcement of a single paragraph. But public expressions of grief came, one being ‘Elegy on Captain Cook’ written by Anna Seward in 1780.

Continue reading

Endeavour: Sailing and Sea Birds

Stephen Radley. Image: ANMM.

Stephen Radley. Image: ANMM.

A blog series from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Growing up in Portland the bay was a constant in Stephen Radley’s childhood – swimming in the summer, watching the ships unload their cargo, trawlers returning with their catch and people sailing their yachts. One memory that remains of those days is that of the cray boats returning with their catch, cooking the crays right there on the wharf and then selling them still steaming.

Continue reading

Endeavour: From Land to Sea

Sam Wilson. Image: ANMM.

Sam Wilson. Image: ANMM.

A blog series from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Like his father, Donald, sailing did not play a large part in Sam Wilson’s childhood. However, unlike his father, the sea did play a major part in his childhood. Living in Bunbury a block away from the beach Sam spent a lot of time body boarding or just hanging at the beach with his mates. Watching vessels on the horizon and the yachts sailing up and down the coast became a fascination for him but joining them never entered his mind. It was during this time at the beach that he was unconsciously honing his ability to read the waves and the sea. An ability which would serve him later when the sailing bug took hold.

Continue reading

Endeavour: Portland to Sydney, day 13

The voyage crew. Image: ANMM.

The voyage crew. Image: ANMM.

A blog series by Steward John Cowie from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Port Lincoln to Portland. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this. 

Day 13, 6th April 2016: Darling Harbour.

Early morning call this morning as we had to weigh anchor early to be at Darling Harbour at 1000. Weighing anchor a complex operation, particularly as the Bower anchor weighed 2.5 tons. Using a Fish davit, cathead and various tackles, the anchor was secured outboard as we motored past Georges Heights. Two and a half months of voyaging came to an end as we passed the first lines ashore on time.

Continue reading

Endeavour: Portland to Sydney, day 12

Voyage crew heading to the Quarantine station. Image: ANMM.

Voyage crew heading to the Quarantine station. Image: ANMM.

A blog series by Steward John Cowie from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Port Lincoln to Portland. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this. 

Day 12, 5th April 2016: Quarantine Bay

The predicted thunder storms and squalls of 45 knots that were to come in from the NE last night failed to eventuate – the wind was very light and the thunder storms faded well before they hit the coast. Anchored in Quarantine Bay, Endeavour therefore swung with the tide and the each of the watches throughout the night only required one crew member. Morning greeted the ship with the sound of commuter ferries coming and going to Manly.

Continue reading

Endeavour: Portland to Sydney, day 11

Sydney through the heads. Image: ANMM.

Sydney through the heads. Image: ANMM.

A blog series by Steward John Cowie from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Port Lincoln to Portland. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this. 

Day 11, 4th April 2016: At sea.

We were off Jervis Bay at 2100 last night when the rains came and the wind went further into the nor’east. Reluctantly, we brought the square sails in and motored on. Morning dawned, more rain, and squalls of around 25 knots, a low swell, and the EA Current still pushing us south at 3 knots.

Continue reading