About ccanmm

Carli is the Web Content Development Officer at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Rescue at Coogee Beach

As this is the last week to see the Rescue exhibition, we thought we’d share a recent interview with Cassandra Scott, who experienced rescue first-hand at Coogee Beach, reiiterating the vital role our emergency services organisations play in keeping us safe.

Photo of Cassandra Scott

Cassandra was rescued by complete strangers at Coogee Beach in 2012.

Tell us about your rescue experience. What happened?

On 12 December 2012 complete strangers worked together at Coogee Beach to rescue me, to bring me back to life after I had drowned and was without a pulse for 15 minutes. A stranger, Neil pulled me out of the surf at Coogee beach where I was floating face down, with no pulse, blue and bloated with lips of deep purple. Olivier, another stranger came to help assisted by another and they worked together, laying me on my side, clearing my mouth and pumping my lungs. Continue reading

Make it at home: miniature garden terrariums

Use unusual glass vessels to create a terrarium

Use unusual glass vessels to create a terrarium

For this month’s make-it-at-home craft activity we’ve taken inspiration from the beautiful landscape photographs by the American photographer Ansel Adams featured in Ansel Adams – Photography from the mountains to the sea, open at the museum on 4 July, until 8 December. We’re going to show you how to make your own mini-landscapes in glass jars, called terrariums.

Terrariums are great fun to make with children, especially when it comes to designing your landscape with plants and rocks.

We’d love to see your terrarium creations. Please do send us photos either by email at web[at]anmm.gov.au or via Instagram, just tag the photo with our username @ANMMuseum.

Let’s get started… Continue reading

Make your own potato block print pattern

Inspired by our new exhibition East of India – Forgotten trade with Australia and the traditional art of block printing, we have created step by step instructions for you to make a ‘block print’ at home, using simple house-hold materials, like potatoes! A perfect activity for the upcoming school holidays.

Wooden block printing has a long tradition in India where a design is carved into a printing block, the surface of the block is placed in dye and then printed onto the cloth. We found a great video on Youtube that shows more of the detailed process involved.

Important note: This is a great activity for children, but please make sure an adult does all of the cutting work.

All materials laid out, potatoes, knife, craft blade, chopping board, paint, paint brush, art paper

Prepare your workstation

Continue reading

Mrs Philip Gidley King’s muslin evening dress

Over the last few weeks I have been preparing a mannequin for the display of a muslin dress in our exhibition East of India – Forgotten trade with Australia, opening on 1 June. The dress is on loan from The National Trust and is reputed to have belonged to Anna Josepha King, wife of Philip Gidley King, the third governor of New South Wales from 1800 to 1806.

White muslin dress with silver embroidery

Evening dress worn by Mrs Anna Josepha King, circa 1805. Muslin, silver thread. Collection of the National Trust of Australia (NSW)

Continue reading

DIY Mother’s Day card

This Sunday is Mother’s Day in Australia, and for a little something special we’ve made a cute downloadable Mother’s Day card for you. It features a mother penguin with two little penguins and space inside to write your own message.

Photo of card and inside of card

Download our cute DIY Mother’s Day card.

Simply download the jpg file (177 KB), then when the image opens in a new browser window, right click and ‘Save as’ to your computer. Print the image at A4 size and fold as instructed on the back of the card, then add a special message inside.

Happy Mother’s day to all of the fabulous mums out there!

Downloadable greetings card featuring a mother penguin with two small penguins and message Happy Mother's Day

Download the card, print to A4 and fold.

Sometimes, being negative isn’t so bad…

This is something I discovered recently during the process of registering part of the large collection of photographic negatives, taken by photographer Gervaise Purcell, and acquired by the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Cruise ship circular quay

View of the passenger ship CANBERRA at Circular Quay. ANMM Collection. Reproduced courtesy of Leigh Purcell

Man and woman on deck of cruise ship

Example of promotional cruise ship images produced by Purcell.
ANMM Collection. Reproduced courtesy of Leigh Purcell

Photo of cruise liner from wharf, people waving from deck

Example of promotional cruise ship images produced by Purcell. ANMM Collection. Reproduced courtesy of Leigh Purcell

Continue reading

Exposed! The Gervaise Purcell Collection

In 2008 while researching and developing the museum’s travelling exhibition Exposed! The story of Swimwear, I was contacted by Leigh Purcell, the son of respected Australian commercial photographer Gervaise Purcell (1919 – 1999). His work from the late 1940s covered a variety of fashion and maritime related subjects for clients including retailing giants David Jones and Hordern Bros, radio technology manufacturer Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA), swimwear manufacturer Jantzen, tourism operator Ansett Airways, and cruise ship operators P&O.

Photo of lady in one piece swim suit on beach

Fashion shoot for Jantzen fashion shoot with Beverley Evans at Kurnell, Sydney, 1957. ANMM Collection. Reproduced courtesy Leigh Purcell

Photo of two men and one woman at table on cruise liner

Fashion shoot for Jantzen fashion on Matson liner SS Monterey, 1957.
ANMM Collection. Reproduced courtesy Leigh Purcell

Leigh told me he still had his father’s Graflex Crown Graphic camera, camera accessories and a box of negatives including some from swimwear fashion shoots in the 1950s. I jumped at the chance to see his father’s commercial work and so we met at the museum’s photography studio to view the negatives.  Leigh kindly allowed our photographer Andrew Frolows to digitally scan a selection of the negatives into positives. This process revealed arresting fashion images that were clearly perfect for inclusion in the museum’s swimwear exhibition.  I was hooked.

Discussions were soon underway to borrow Gervaise Purcell’s photographic equipment and a selection of images for display.

Exhibition view of Gervaise Purcell display

Exhibition view of Gervaise Purcell display in Exposed! The Story of Swimwear at the Australian National Maritime Museum 2009. Photographer Andrew Frolows ANMM.

At the time I hoped that the museum would eventually acquire this rich and diverse photographic archive as much of Purcell’s commercial photographs had not been seen publically for decades and were a valuable record of Australian maritime related business ventures in the second half of the twentieth century.

In the intervening years I kept in touch with Leigh and to my delight in 2012 he offered his father’s photographic negatives and equipment to the museum. I wrote a proposal to acquire this material into the National Maritime Collection which was thankfully approved.  First hurdle leapt.

Now the substantial and exacting task of documenting and scanning the collection of 3,000 negatives is underway.  Our registrar Tennille Noach is bringing the collection to light so you can enjoy these evocative photographs as much as we both do. Look out for Tennile’s upcoming blog post about this fabulous photographic collection.

Penny Cuthbert
Curator Sport and Leisure History

Elysium Antarctic Visual Epic – opens 13 April

Antarctica, a place I dream of exploring, but like so many of us, it seems so out of reach. That’s why I can’t wait to for the exhibition Elysium Antarctic Visual Epic to open at the museum this Saturday.

Photo of man in icy water

Videographer braves below-zero waters, Danco Island. Steve Jones/ElysiumEpic.org

The exhibition follows a team of 57 explorers from 18 countries that set out on a unique scientific and artistic expedition to Antarctica in 2010 to document the environment and record any evidence of climate change. Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition – 1-3 April

Monday 1 April 2013

April Fool’s Day – The wind has been steadily increasing overnight and some of the team – including Frits and Lee – have abandoned Hellraiser 2 to seek more comfortable berths on board the much larger SWII which does not bounce around so much in the increasing swell.

Plans for the day are much the same as yesterday, with the exception that the team will be joined by Steve and Sparra in Hellraiser 2 which – because we are operating more than eight miles away from the main vessel SWII – will act as a temporary rest stop for the teams working out of the smaller dive tenders.

Four teams on and in the water today – Frits and John ‘magging’ in Maggie; Gil, Greg, Lee and Freddy diving anomalies in Caribe; Xanthe, Jacqui, Andrew, Rick, Glen and I ‘magging’ and diving in the Hydro-sport; and Sparra, Steve and Grant on Hellraiser 2.

Kieran magging with Forbes Island in background.

Kieran magging with Forbes Island in background.

Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition – 30 and 31 March

Saturday 30 March 2013

Woke up this morning to a very empty anchorage at the back of Ferguson Reef – with Silentworld II (SWII) and the Hydro-sport dive tender having left for Portland Roads at 0330 this morning – leaving a much reduced crew (Xanthe, Andrew, Grant, Freddy and I) on board Hellraiser 2 to check out the last remaining anomalies and take the last measurements before cleaning up the site and sailing westward to meet the larger team at Eel Reef, and hopefully the wreck of the Indian-built opium clipper Morning Star wrecked three miles south west of Quoin Island in 1814.

With a much smaller team to get ready we got to the outer edge of Ferguson Reef and the wrecksite of the Ferguson in plenty of time for the high water slack.

Xanthe, Grant and Andrew from the Silentworld Foundation and I jumped in just to the seaward of the ‘picked in’ anchor and allowed the last few minutes of the floodtide to carry us in over the reef top and along the stud link anchor chain which runs back over the top of the reef for some 200 metres before ending amongst flat plate and staghorn coral.

Kieran underwater looking at anchor chain

Kieran inspecting the anchor chain.

Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition – 28 and 29 March

Thursday 28 March

After a somewhat late night for the expedition team members and crew who had been waiting for the arrival of Hellraiser 2, the team members got together early the next morning to discuss the practicalities of working the ‘end of flood tide’ on the wrecksite so Xanthe could get a complete photomosaic of the site.

We decided to send a small team of divers, including Xanthe, Greg, Gil and Andrew, over to the site just before the ‘end of flood’ at 0700 so that Xanthe would have enough water depth to complete the photomosaic. Just in case, Freddy and Kieran would act as stand-by divers so that the in-water divers could be pulled out of the water if the ebb-tide came in earlier than expected.

Luckily conditions on site were perfect with the strong south-easterly (wind) holding up the ebbing tide long enough for the photomosaic to be completed without incident.

In the afternoon we planned for Frits and John to mag the northern part of the lagoon, have Andrew and Grant record the features of the carronades (cannon) on site, have Gil and Greg record the dimensions of all the various bits on the anchor chain, and Jacqui and I would record the knee and bilge pump dimensions. Unfortunately and unexpectedly the tides refused to cooperate – although for the last couple of days, the tides were behaving relatively normally with gaps of approximately 6 hours between High and Low tide – today the ebb tide was more prolonged, possible due to the effect of the New Moon. This meant the dive tender and Maggie (the shallow drafted magnetometer boat) were unable to get over the western edge of the reef and onto the wreck site.

After waiting for three hours – and noticing no discernible difference in the level of the water over the reef – the team called the dive and returned to Silentworld II.

Photo of Kieran and two of the crew on boat with seagul

We made a friend at sea!

Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition – 26 and 27 March

Tuesday 26 March

This morning the weather conditions appeared to be improving on yesterday’s so we sent off four teams to work on the Ferguson site.

Team One consisting of Frits and John dove on a series of magnetic anomalies off the south western side of Ferguson Reef, Gil and Greg in Team Two measured up an anchor at the northern part of the site, Peter and Jacqui in Team Three measured a ‘flat’ anchor and Grant and Andrew in Team Four measured an anchor in the surf zone. Whilst all this was going on Xanthe took photographs of the work in progress and I monitored the work from the surface whilst taking part in an open classroom discussion via telephone through the DART virtual excursion program of the NSW Department of Education.

As the teams returned from the wrecksite the whole area was struck by a series of rain squalls drenching everyone – well at least it saved us the job of washing the dive gear.

After lunch, sea conditions appeared to have quietened down once again and in almost perfect conditions we set off to dive on the site. Gil, Greg and I went to measure the length of a stud link anchor chain that was attached to a ‘picked in’ anchor. Peter and Jacqui jumped in to measure up the various iron knees, assisted by Andrew, John and Frits armed with metal detectors they commenced a non-disturbance metal detector survey of the site to find out ‘what lies beneath’. Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition – Monday 25 March

Over the last few days the weather conditions on site have started to deteriorate as as the effects of a new monsoonal trough comes into play.

Photo of

Peter Illidge with charts.

With a substantial surf breaking over the southern and eastern edges of Ferguson Reef and with limited space in the boats we decided to send only single teams of snorkelers onto the reef-top searching for the magnetometer hits that John and Frits had detected on the previous day. Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition 21 – 24 March

Thursday 21 March

Before departing Lizard Island this morning the team took advantage of the early start by climbing Cook’s Look the iconic hill on Lizard Island. The same hill climbed by Lieutenant James Cook and some of the crew of HMB Endeavour in 1770 shortly after that vessel had run aground on a coral patch now known as Endeavour Reef, south of Lizard Island. Cook used this vantage spot to find his way out of the ‘labyrinth’ which had so nearly claimed his vessel.

Photo of

Expedition team at Cooks Look

After climbing Cook’s Look our expedition vessels departed Lizard Island bound for the Flinders Group, 50 or so miles north.

After a smooth passage the two vessels anchored in the channel between the cluster of islands that make up the Flinders Group just south and east of Princess Charlotte Bay. In March 1899 a cyclone destroyed a pearling fleet anchored in the Bay, with the loss of over 400 lives including at least 100 local Aboriginal people who were swept away and drowned as the result of a huge tidal surge associated with the cyclone. Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition – the lead up

Our maritime archaeology team were set for a three week expedition to Ferguson Reef, off the coast of north Queensland to locate and survey shipwrecks Ferguson and Morning Star until the forces of nature threw some obstacles in their way – a couple of cyclones to be exact! Here, Kieran Hosty our maritime archaeology manager brings us up to speed with the expedition, the cyclones and the new plan.

We’ll be posting more of Kieran’s updates as the expedition continues, so keep an eye out.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Over the last week or so a number of factors have come into play which forced the Silentworld Foundation and the Australian National Maritime Museum to cancel or at best postpone the proposed Ferguson Reef Project.

Towards the end of last week a tropical low developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria and over last weekend formed into Severe Tropical Cyclone Sandra. Whilst TC Sandra has not caused any damage to the Queensland coast the formation of the cyclone in the Coral Sea has prevented one of the expedition vessel’s Nimrod Explorer from reaching Cairns from the Solomon Islands where it had been engaged in charter work. Cyclone Sandra has also whipped up the seas between Sydney and Cairns delaying the arrival of the second expedition vessel Silentworld II. Continue reading