Searching for junks and sampans

‘<a href="http://bishop.slq.qld.gov.au/view/action/singleViewer.do?dvs=1540263437073~326&amp;locale=en_AU&amp;metadata_object_ratio=14&amp;show_metadata=true&amp;VIEWER_URL=/view/action/singleViewer.do?&amp;DELIVERY_RULE_ID=10&amp;frameId=1&amp;usePid1=true&amp;usePid2=true" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sailing from Goondi to Geraldton</a>’, circa 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Sailing from Goondi to Geraldton’, circa 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Volunteer researcher Aliza Chin shares her investigations of late 19th-century Chinese vessels built in Australia.

A research adventure

For the past two months, I have been a volunteer researcher at the Museum. I have become an explorer who conducts archival deep dives, a decipherer and editor of Trove auto-text, an appraiser of photographs stored away in digital collections, swinging between feelings of elation and frustration, in between clicks and scrolls. If you don’t know Trove, it is an Australian online library database aggregator; a free faceted-search engine hosted by the National Library of Australia,[1] in partnership with content providers including members of the National & State Libraries Australasia.[2] It is one of the most well-respected[3] and accessed GLAM services in Australia, with over 70,000 daily users.

To say that the experience has equipped me with new skills in my field would be an understatement, but this blog entry is not about me. Rather, it is about the issues and new sources encountered and uncovered in the little-studied area of Chinese shipbuilding; specifically, vessels that were made here in Australia between the 1870s and early 1900s. Dr Stephen Gapps has been researching sampans and junks for a while and invited me to help with this project.

Continue reading

The value of volunteers

Mature age volunteers are the ‘lifeblood’ of the museum. Their experience and passion are what our visitors enjoy. Image: ANMM.

Mature age volunteers are the ‘lifeblood’ of the museum. Their experience and passion are what our visitors enjoy. Image: ANMM.

Did you know that here at the museum we have over 1200 volunteers? Some 450 regularly volunteer onsite.

Volunteers are extremely important to our visitor experiences and a big part of our 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor. Continue reading

Farewell Fremantle

Tomorrow (6 January) Endeavour will depart Fremantle at 11 am with a new voyage crew onboard, destined for Albany. If you are in the area, please feel free to come down and bid us farewell!

We are due to arrive at Albany Waterfront Marina, Princess Royal Harbour on 12 January and will be open to the public from 14 – 18 January.

Anyone interested in volunteering as a guide or overnight shipkeeper during our Albany port visit, please get in touch. All of the information can be found on our website.

Fair winds!

Volunteer callout: Western Australia

We are in need of additional volunteer visitor guides and overnight shipkeepers  for our upcoming port visits in Western Australia.  No experience is necessary and full training is provided. If you are interested, we’d love to hear from you.

Port dates
Fremantle: 14 Oct – 1 Nov 2011
Bunbury: 9 – 13 Nov 2011
Albany: 14 – 18 Jan 2012

As a guide you will share the history of this great vessel with the visitors onboard Endeavour. Don’t worry – you will be provided information packs and training! You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn after a day onboard Endeavour!

If sleeping in a hammock is more your style, you may like to take on the role of overnight shipkeeper. In a small team you will be responsible for keeping Endeavour safe while in port. Previous maritime experience not necessary and training is provided.

Here’s a piece of advice from a Shane Trimby,  Endeavour volunteer in Cairns:

Just do it. You will love it, the crew will help you with your knowledge of the Endeavour and it will be something that you will never regret doing.”

Read a full interview with Shane and also Kit Edwards, who volunteered as a guide and shipkeeper in Darwin.

Complete an online volunteer application today or contact the museum’s volunteer office for more information on email  volsoffice@anmm.gov.au or fax (02) 9298 3729 or phone (02) 9298 3777.

Voyage Stories: Volunteering in Darwin

Meet Kit Edwards, who volunteered as a guide and shipkeeper onboard HMB Endeavour while in port at Darwin. We asked him about his time onboard Endeavour.

Kit Edwards volunteer in Darwin

Kit Edwards, volunteer guide onboard HMB Endeavour in Darwin

Which port did you volunteer at?
Port of Darwin at the Stokes Hill Wharf

What made you want to volunteer on the ship?
I’ve always been fascinated by the history of discovery and by the history of watercraft. 

Have you done anything like this before?
Never. Visiting tall ships like the Esmeralda from Chile or the Dewaruci from Indonesia is interesting and exciting (even controversial in the former case) but working as a volunteer on a ship replica with a relevance to one’s own country’s history is a unique experience.

What was your first impression of Endeavour?
Some years ago I saw Endeavour from the cliffs surrounding Botany Bay at the commencement of the voyage to Britain. It looked so small, just like a large yacht. You can hardly imagine how the original ship managed to find space for a complement of ninety four officers and crew, the scientific gentlemen and their servants, as well as supplies livestock and five boats! On board, it’s the smell of the freshly-tarred rigging that first strikes you, forever evocative of a proper sailing ship.

Kit Edwards nightwatch volunteer

Moonlight nightwatch. Slept on deck. Happy.

What was your role as a volunteer? 
My primary role was as a guide-educator for the school groups in the mornings. Families came in the afternoons, the adults curious find out about what had seemed a distant history, but which became tangible immediately upon stepping aboard. I also volunteered to be a ship keeper at night and, with other volunteers, was responsible to the ship’s watch keeper for the safety and security of Endeavour whilst it lay alongside.

What was the best thing about your experience onboard Endeavour? And what was the worst?
A very positive benefit was meeting visitors of all ages and backgrounds. I even met one of the original shipwrights of Endeavour. My fellow volunteers and the professional crew came both from Australia and overseas and I learned lots about their lives and their experiences during this time. The hardest thing was watching the crowds grow and realising how warm it was on the dock. I felt an internal conflict between giving those on board the best experience and welcoming those waiting to visit the museum-on-a-ship. I believe most visitors went away happy appreciating the efforts of the volunteers and crew.

Did you learn anything new while onboard Endeavour?
Aside from the details of the museum exhibits, in particular at the foredeck, in the galley and mess decks, I began to appreciate the amount of preparation the original voyage needed and also the extent of its achievement, scientific and geographical. Similarly, I came to value the vision of this project of circumnavigation by the Australian National Museum and see how it connects with the histories of all Australians, including the Aboriginal and former refugee students who visited the ship with their teachers.

What’s your advice for anyone considering being a volunteer?
Be open to learning lots of new things quite fast. Learn from others. Appreciate the questions from visitors as they lead you to think in new ways. Maintain a sense of humour and be patient even when you’re asked the same question for the umpteenth time.

Would you do it again?
In a flash!

We would like to thank Kit for his generous contribution to the HMB Endeavour Circumnavigation Project.

— Volunteer with HMB Endeavour, find out more on our website —

Voyage Stories: Volunteering in Cairns

Meet Shane Trimby, who volunteered as a guide onboard HMB Endeavour while in port at Cairns. We asked him about his time onboard Endeavour.

Shane Trimby Volunteer Guide Cairns

Shane Trimby, Volunteer Guide onboard HMB Endeavour in Cairns

Which port did you volunteer at?
Cairns, North Queensland

What made you want to volunteer on the ship?
Actually, I heard about the circumnavigation that HMB Endeavour was doing and thought that I would like to do that. I found out that I couldn’t make the time or had the money to go onboard and I noticed that you could volunteer as a guide, I deal with the public everyday in my job and thought it would be a great experience.

Have you done anything like this before?
No, I have never been a “guide” before, for anything and nor have I ever spoken publicly about the Endeavour. I found the training by the crew of Endeavour great and the “Blue Book” invaluable. Anyone thinking about volunteering need not worry, you will be well educated to be a guide.

What was your first impression of Endeavour?
Amazed that 94 souls set sail on her… All the crew were very friendly. Onboard it was like stepping back in time, the smells, the timber and all the rigging etc. I couldn’t believe how cramped the crew mess and marines quarters were.

What was your role as a volunteer?
I was stationed at different positions, quarter deck, fore deck, officers mess, officers quarters, great cabin , top of ladder, bottom of ladder and cloaking… generally telling the story of what area I was in and dealing with the needs and questions of the public that were visiting Endeavour in Cairns.
 
What was the best thing about your experience onboard Endeavour? And what was the worst?
I actually didn’t have a “worst” problem, except I didn’t have more time personally to volunteer more often… One of the best things I heard was a little boy asked me “if the side cannons fired knives and forks like Captain Jack Sparrow?” I loved explaining life on the Endeavour to the public.

Did you learn anything new while onboard Endeavour?
Heaps!!! I learned a lot about the Endeavour, Cook and his crew, the voyage and lots of other sailing references that I didn’t know.

What’s your advice for anyone considering being a volunteer?
Just do it. You will love it, the crew will help you with your knowledge of the Endeavour and it will be something that you will never regret doing.
 
Would you do it again?
Yes, at a blink of an eye.

We would like to thank Shane for his generous contribution to the HMB Endeavour Circumnavigation Project.