The long sea voyage to a new land
Passengers, from convicts to refugees
Most Australians have at least one relative who travelled by sea to settle in Australia, from convicts in the 18th century to refugees in the 21st. That long sea voyage became the most important journey of their lives.
"Lying on beam ends, the ship began to break up almost immediately. One man, able seaman James Johnson, found himself hurled onto a rocky ledge and, scrambling high, became the sole survivor."
- David Nutley, Heritage Conservation News, June 1991, on the Dunbar shipwreck
Step into this exhibition's Art Deco décor, evoking the glamorous era of ocean liner travel. Linger on the many personal items that bring voyagers' stories to life - diary excerpts, clothing, precious mementos and shipboard souvenirs. Why did they leave? How long was the voyage? How did they settle in a strange new country?
See one of the handful of contemporary images of a ship from the First Fleet - the storeship Borrowdale.
A detailed model of a convict hulk sets the scene for Australia's earliest European arrivals. For non-convicts who emigrated as steerage passengers, accommodation was dark, damp and uncomfortable. Ship medical chests reveal the dangers of disease and injury. Relive the perils of sea travel through relics from the 1857 wreck of the Dunbar (with just one survivor).
The exhibition centrepiece is a large-scale model of the 1937 ocean liner SS Orcades, which brought migrants to Australia. In 1952, nine-year-old child migrant Bob Stephens was sent across the world from England. His precious mementos of his mother speak volumes about enduring attachment to his family and homeland. War and Love tells the story of two Japanese women who migrated to Australia as war brides after World War II.
Open daily, 9.30am–5pm
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Is your family among the 6 million people who have migrated to Australia? Have your name recorded on the museum’s Welcome Wall. This special tribute stands in honour of all those who have migrated from countries around the world to live in Australia. See Welcome Wall.
Extended to 6:00 pm in January
Last boarding time for Submarine and Tall Ships – 4.10pm
Closed Christmas Day 25 December.
+61 2 9298 3777
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© Copyright 2013
Australia National Maritime Museum
Every day 9.30 am - 5 pm
Extend to 6.00 pm in January
Closed Xmas Day 25 Dec.
2 Murrey Street
sydney NSW 2000, AU
+61 2 9298 3777