You can find all the normal exhibitions one comes to expect from a maritime museum like maps, anchors, recovered china, wooden sailboats and much more. Allow us to share a few of the more interesting and unusual treasures we found.
In the main exhibition hall you’ll find a gun barrel in the form of a dragon that was recovered from the Great Barrier Reef. In this same hall we marvelled at the beautiful wooden furniture on board Lucinda. I also have to mention the intricate detail of the various model ships on display.
But what would a maritime museum be without an exhibition on lighthouses? You can learn about the evolution of the lighthouse lamps, the principles of the Fresnel lens and get close to the 1883 lens from Archer Point.
By far the most astonishing exhibit we saw was Happy II. At first glance it looks just part of a boat; it was only after reading the inscription that it became clear to us that this 1.7m construction was actually the whole boat. A young Canadian built this aluminium boat and sailed through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean to New Caledonia. Here his boat called Happy ran ashore. After repairing it, he named it Happy II and slowly made his way to Australia. It is simply an amazing story of courage and adventure.
What really set this museum apart from the rest for us are the HMAS Diamantina and the fact that you can discover and explore this ship at your own leisure. It is Australia’s largest World War II veteran and the last survivor of the ‘river’ class frigates built in WW II. The Diamantina is located outside the museum in the equally impressive dry dock. More photos.