China Tourism and Chinese Tourists: Being China Ready

The museum hosted over 5,000 NuSkin business visitors in April - during the Classic and Wooden Boat Festival. Image: Andrew Frolows / ANMM.

The museum hosted almost 4,000 Nu Skin business visitors in April – during the Classic and Wooden Boat Festival. Image: Andrew Frolows / ANMM.

You may have noticed that Darling Harbour had some works undertaken over the past three years with the redevelopment of the new convention centre ICC Sydney opening December 2016.

This development and the removal of the Sydney Monorail meant the Australian National Maritime Museum had to look at ways to attract new visitors to our doorstep. Because without a convention centre and the monorail tourists would not be ‘dropped’ at our doorstep.

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A working harbour: Waterfront change through Cazneaux’s ‘seeing eye’

Harold Cazneaux, 'A study in curves', 1931. Gelatin silver print. ANMM Collection 00054649.

Harold Cazneaux, ‘A study in curves’, 1931. Gelatin silver print. ANMM Collection 00054649.

Whatever pictures are made of our great Sydney today will in future years have some historical interest and value. As time marches on there will always be a ‘Sydney of yesterday’.

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Endeavour sails and so could you


With just days to go, there is still lots of work to prepare HMB Endeavour Replica for its upcoming voyages. Apart from organising bookings, logistics and crew, the ship is being made ready, and last-minute maintenance and painting scheduled.

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Ecuadorian navy training tall ship Guayas arrives at the museum

Guaya enters Sydney Harbour 8 January, 2016 - harbour bridge to the right on a sunny day.

Guayas enters Sydney Harbour, 8 January 2016. Photo Jude Timms/ANMM

The Ecuadorian navy training tall ship Guayas arrived at the Australian National Maritime Museum this morning to an enthusiastic welcome from members of the Ecuadorian community and museum visitors and staff.

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Shark attack in Sydney Harbour

Australian surfer Mick Fanning is in the news after surviving an attack by a Great White Shark during a surfing competition in South Africa. The incident reminded the Museum’s USA Programs Manager Richard Wood of a family tragedy involving a shark attack in Sydney Harbour.

Marcia’s been taken by a shark

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Gervais Purcell: hats, photography and fashion of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s

Gervais Purcell - model in beach hat

Woman modelling a hat, Gervais Purcell 1949

Cock your hat.
An angle is an attitude

– Frank Sinatra

Its hat week this week – for myself it’s an excuse to kit up for winter but among the vast collection of images by respected Australian commercial photographer Gervais Purcell the hats are generally more about form than function.

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A new artificial reef at the Australian National Maritime Museum

James Hunter guides one of the Reef Balls.

James Hunter guides one of the Reef Balls under the Australian National Maritime Museum’s north wharf. Photo: Lee Graham.

Next time you visit the Australian National Maritime Museum, make sure you take a peek under the north wharf for a glimpse of our new artificial reef. Last week we installed a series of six Reef Balls® — purpose-built artificial reef habitats for sea creatures donated by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. They’re actually half-balls (hemispheres) and are hollow, with several small holes that provide shelter for fish and invertebrates. They’re made of concrete with a special additive that strengthens them, while lowering the pH to encourage the settlement and growth of marine organisms.

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Get ready to play!

ANMM-MiniMariners-2Things are coming together nicely for our new under 5s children’s play space – Mini Mariners Play. The space is based on the themes of by the seashore / under the sea selected based on popularity with this age group, suitability to the context of the new space, and usefulness for extending our core programs for this audience.

As mentioned in my previous post, this space has been developed to meet the needs of our youngest learners, using a mixture of visual, tactile and audio activations to inspire little ones (and their carers) to actively engage with the themes.

Most of the activities and exhibits have now been installed and today we road-tested the space with some young members. The verdict? They loved it and can’t wait to come back and play for real!

Mini Mariners Play opens on 9 December.



Vivid Weekend number two…

What can be said about weekend number two for our vivid celebrations? For a start, the lead up to the Saturday Night featuring Lane, Jackson and Evie J was blessed by the one and only Neil Murray, a man who can tell a soulful story through music and lyrics.

Neil Murray and Band on the Performance Platform...

Neil Murray and his band on the performance platform…

After Neil played two awesome sets with his band, rising stars Lane Sinclair and Jackson Besley took the stage.

Lane and Jackson performing under a rainbow filled colour scheme.

Lane and Jackson performing under a rainbow filled colour scheme.

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International Fleet Review 5 day voyage: Day 1-2

After such an exciting and memorable time back in Port it’s now time for our second voyage to begin, not to welcome the tall ships into Sydney Harbour, but to unfortunately bid them farewell. Our visitors have come to Australia from all around the world to help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of our naval operations. Though after a short stay we are saying goodbye so that they can continue their journeys and start the last leg of the Tall Ship Races for this year.

The voyage crew all embarked on the Wednesday afternoon, with a busy crew swapping from day sail mode to voyage mode in a small amount of hours. Although this voyage would be run a little differently to the last voyages. For the first night Endeavour stayed alongside at the museum, with the professional and voyage crew invited to a crew barbeque on wharf 7 in front of Europa and James Craig. Many sailors and Museum staff and even tall ship crew from other ships around the globe showed up to the barbeque to celebrate the successful gathering of the fleet.

New voyage crew at the Museum Wharf

New voyage crew at the Museum Wharf

After many of the ships crews enjoying a laugh and meeting each other all was quietened down and soon all were snug away on the ship to sleep, ready to set sail the next day.

In the morning, many of the crew got up quite early, excited about what the new day would bring. After breakfast all hands were mustered into their watches and the safety training for the voyage began soon after. The training consisted of up and overs and the normal but very important life jacket and life raft briefings.

The start of the 5 day voyage

The start of the 5 day voyage

Once the training was complete the lines were cast off and Endeavour started making her way out of Darling Harbour and on her way to the heads to be a witness to the start of the race to Auckland. As we made it to the gathering point of ships just inside the heads, the breeze was light and the day was warming up, getting up to 39 degrees. The ships started to set sails and waited for the race to start. Unfortunately due to fire risks we were unable to fire any cannons near the heads so the announcements for the start of the race were made over the radio.

The start of the tall ship race to Auckland

The start of the tall ship race to Auckland

After the tall ships had begun the race, Endeavour started making her way South with the breeze and began the purpose of this voyage, to sail!! With the engines turned off, Endeavour was back in her element in no time at all. Once we were sailing the captain believed a little more training was in order, so we conducted some emergency drills. These drills included a fire drill, abandon ship and also a man overboard.

After 2 days of settling in, the time had come for dinner before the night watches were commenced.

All is well.

A Viking ship in Sydney Harbour – restoration work continues

Ready to go back to the museum

Jorgen Jorgensen ready to go back in the water

As mentioned in my last blog post, the restoration of the Viking Age reconstruction Jorgen Jorgensen, is being spearheaded, so to speak, by the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Fleet staff. During the last week of July, Fleet and volunteers worked hard to finish the necessary work below the waterline and to paint the vessel while it was on the hard at Noakes Shipyards. Continue reading

Testing, testing … a sneak preview of our rooftop lightshow

Last Friday night the museum’s designer, Hamish, and I braved the record heat, blustery winds and rain in Sydney to attend a test run of the museum’s dynamic new lightshow, Waves of migration.This thirteen-minute animated show explores immigration to Australia and the compelling stories of those who’ve come across the seas to this nation of migrants. It premieres at 8.30 pm this Saturday night, Australia Day, on the roof of the museum – marking the first time the façade of our building has been used as an extension of the exhibition space.

Lightshow projection on museum roof

The museum’s roof becomes a canvas for the Waves of migration lightshow

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Two men in a boat – Opening of 2013 Sydney Festival

According to the media reports there were 60,000 people watching.  From my position, in the back of a canoe with Matt Doyle full blast on his didgeridoo in the front, I was too busy paddling and keeping it upright to notice just how many were watching us, taking pictures or filming.

Photo of giant inflated yellow rubber duck on water

Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck enters Cockle Bay

So how does a curator end up here, in Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour, paddling his self-designed-and-built plywood version of an Arnhem Land derrka, sitting behind Matt Doyle who is painted up, wired up and playing didgeridoo? We are opening the 2013 Sydney Festival event on Darling Harbour, which is featuring Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck installation. Continue reading

Get up close and personal with over 70 classic & wooden boats

This weekend is a fantastic event in the museum’s calendar – the Classic & Wooden Boat Festival 2012. More than 70 privately owned classic boats will gather in Darling Harbour, including over a dozen Halvorsen cruisers! Here is a selection of vessels that will be on show:

The Captain’s Barge is the only remaining cabined example of its type in Australia. Built in England in 1945, the boat has an innovative construction involving double-mahogany planks, copper-nailed with a linseed-oiled canvas layer between, and has been restored by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust volunteers.

Gretel II – America’s Cup challenger in both 1970 and 1971. Gretel II, designed by Alan Payne, was the last wooden 12-Metre class yacht to be built and was generally considered faster than Intrepid in the 1970 series. She was modified in 1977 and refitted in 2009 in her current configuration as a cruiser racer with a minimalist interior fitout.

Read more about Gretel II on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database.

Hurrica V is a 1924 English gentleman’s classic sailing yacht born in the Edwardian era, remembered for its embrace of glamour and classic designs. Now restored and reborn with renewed respect for that elegance, she has proven to be a bona fide yacht with a double-crossing of the notorious Bass Strait to Hobart. Hurrica V will feature in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Read more about Hurrica V (on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database).

Silver Cloud was first built in 1939. She was part of the ‘Hollywood Fleet’ that patrolled Sydney Harbour during WWII. In 2010 she was entered onto the ANMM Register of Historic Vessels. After a four-year renovation Silver Cloud resumes her place as the ‘grande dame’ of classic boating.

Read more about Silver Cloud on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database.

Protex is a typical early-20th-century small motor boat built to operate in Australia’s harbours and inland waterways. She was used to transport goods and personnel to ships and waterfront establishments, and to ferry staff from the Palmolive factory at Balmain to various city wharves.

Read more about Protex on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database.

A full list of vessels on display at the Classic & Wooden Boat Festival can be seen on our website.

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival 2012 – live music line-up

The Classic & Wooden Boat Festival takes place this weekend, Friday 12 October to Sunday 14 October and has a great line-up of entertainment and activities for all the family to enjoy, including a fantastic live music line-up.

With a special guest appearance from ARIA award winner Clare Bowditch, performing songs from her new album The Winter I Chose Happiness. Tickets are on sale now for just $20 via our website. There are also various other live music acts over the course of the weekend.

The festival will also, of course, feature over 70 classic boats and incorporate maritime crafts and competitions such as Quick and Dirty boat building and race, deck hands line throwing, best dressed boat and caulk a seam competition.

For the full program and to book visit our website.