It seems obvious that Tasmania has always had a close relationship with the sea, and this unique museum has extensive exhibits looking at every aspect of that connection. It covers the maritime history of the island state from Aboriginal exploration to colonization, then ship-building, trading, whaling, wartime, ferries, and pleasure cruises.
There’s the tragic side, too, and the many shipwrecks that floundered along the coasts are featured on display. Notable is the scale model of the hump-backed Tasman Bridge, which visitors will have crossed on the way to capital city, Hobart, after arriving at the airport. The bridge was hit by the Lake Illawarra, which then sunk, in 1975.
The museum also has part of the “Mystery Shipwreck” from 1831, which some thought was the Hope, which sunk with a huge cache of silver in its hold.
Opened by volunteers in the early 1970s, the museum is a miniature ship paradise, and other artifacts include a deep-sea diver’s suit, figureheads, lighthouse lenses, weapons, tools, bells, wheelhouses, and many other parts of this island’s extensive maritime history.
Know Before You Go
During the winter months, the bright red, 6,574-gross-ton super icebreaker Aurora Australis is moored near the museum in the Victoria Docks.