HMAS Waterhen in Sydney Harbour, c1925–33. ANMM Collection 00021576.
The 9th of December 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Tobruk, the port on the north coast of Libya that proved such a thorn in the side of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel during the eight months that the siege lasted. The Australian War Memorial describes it as one of the longest sieges in British military history.
Whenever the siege of Tobruk is remembered, the Australian soldiers, who formed the greater part of the garrison for most of the time, are quite rightly afforded pride of place.
The Voyage, an online game exploring the convict experience. Image: ANMM.
On 30 November 2015 the museum launched our new educational game, The Voyage, at the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery in Hobart.The Voyage is a ‘serious’ game based on the transportation of convicts from Britain to Van Diemen’s Land in the early nineteenth century. The game is a joint venture with Roar Film Tasmania, The Australian National Maritime Museum, University of Tasmania, Screen Tasmania and Screen Australia.
Steering – by foot – across the Pacific Ocean. ANMM Collection, reproduced courtesy Kay Cottee.
Imagine being thrown about in your small yacht surfing down a 20-metre wave. You’re in the Southern Indian Ocean, it’s freezing, you’re exhausted and soaked through. You’re days or weeks from land. You have no GPS. You’re alone.
Beachgoers at Newcastle, c1910. This period saw Australians embrace swimming at the beach for leisure. ANMM Collection ANMS0551.
In this island country, the coastline stretches over a distance of more than 36,000 kilometres, so it’s no surprise that Australians are obsessed with water, beaches and water sports. It is this obsession with water that has contributed to Australia’s reputation as a nation of swimmers, surfers and beach goers. With the introduction of paid holidays and leisure time for families, Australians crowded the beaches making them the place to be. Continue reading →
It’s in the nature of all materials to degrade and break down, some faster than others. Even with our conservation, preservation and archiving techniques designed to slow that degradation, objects from our collection need a bit of extra help to survive. While digitising the National Maritime Archive last year, I came across a surprising discovery: a collection of photographic negatives that were degrading while in our archive storage. Continue reading →
Our new collection website gives you the keys to our collection. Using your favourite digital device you can search, browse, share, tag and give a star rating to over 90,000 objects from the National Maritime Collection.
Lights, camera, action! Image: Andrew Frolows / ANMM.
I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be on TV tonight (not for the first time, I might add!). A while ago Dr Harry and the crew from Channel 7’s Better Homes and Gardens came to the museum for a natter and to see what I do and how well I do it. The segment is going to air tonight (Friday 4 November) at 7 pm. I hope you’ll all be watching!
Did you film my good side? Image: Andrew Frolows / ANMM.
It’s a tough job but I like a challenge. Image: Andrew Frolows / ANMM.
Balinese Independence hero Ngurah Rai features on the 50000 rupiah bank note
Australians usually go to Bali for the beaches or scuba diving. Some go for the surfing, others to experience Balinese food and culture or see the volcanoes, monkeys, temples and rice fields. Recently, a team from the Australian National Maritime Museum went to Bali for a very different reason – to open an exhibition and lead a seminar on some amazing but largely forgotten shared histories of the two countries.
St Brendan saying mass on the back of a sea monster, 1621. ANMM Collection 00019658.
Whilst Halloween slowly approaches, its pretence of horror and worn out ghoulish clichés appear again. Pumpkins and cobwebs adorn houses and plastic skeletons dance limply off front fences. No doubt witches and vampires have their earned their scary credentials but the forced spookiness of the season only makes it feel like a poor cousin to where real horror exists. Offshore.
Dirk Hartog’s plate envelops the museum’s rooftop in ‘A chance encounter’ roof projection, 2016. Photographer Andrew Frolows/ANMM.
Last Thursday night saw the launch of the museum’s latest roof projection, A chance encounter, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Dutch mariner Dirk Hartog’s landing on the west coast of Australia in the VOC ship Eendracht. To mark his landfall on 25 October 1616, Hartog left behind an inscribed pewter plate in Shark Bay, Western Australia, which provides tangible evidence of one of the earliest European encounters with Australia.
H4 replica by Norm Banham showing the aluminium case. Image: Martin Foster.
It is said that longevity is improved markedly by keeping your mind challenged and active and keeping hand–eye coordination intact. If that’s the case Norm Banham might last forever. And he has the clocks that will last with him and keep time accurately – an exquisite replica set he made of John Harrison’s four intricate and ground breaking marine timekeepers. Harrison’s work commenced in 1730 and was completed in 1759.
Harrison’s timekeepers are central to the story about longitude brought to life in the exhibition Ships, Clocks & Stars – The Quest for Longitude and as its tenure at the Australian National Maritime Museum draws to a close at the end of October, an Australian connection that deserves more attention has come to light.
Oil painting of Sobraon (later Tingira), by William Barnett Spencer, c 1866. Image: ANMM Collection 00009342.
On a cold sunny morning in June 2016, Silentworld Foundation Director and maritime archaeologist Paul Hundley steered the survey vessel Maggie III into shallow water at the head of Berrys Bay on Sydney’s North Shore. Accompanying him were the museum’s maritime archaeologists Kieran Hosty and myself, staring intently at a laptop computer as it displayed readings from a marine magnetometer towed a short distance behind the boat. As Maggie III’s hull glided through water less than a metre deep, we watched for any indication that remnants of a unique sailing ship might lie buried in the silt below. Continue reading →