Explore icons of an ocean-loving culture

Various vessels on display including First Lady in the Watermarks gallery at the Australian National Maritime Museum

A nation's love of aquatic sport and play

Ticket Info
  • About


    The museum is undergoing some exciting changes to our permanent galleries. From 29 February 2016, Watermarks will close as we begin work on upcoming exhibitions Ships, Clocks & Stars and ULTIMATE DEPTH: James Cameron's DEEPSEA CHALLENGE.

    Watermarks has been on display for many years and we’re looking forward to giving our visitors something new to experience. Most of the objects on display will return to our collection stores for a well-deserved rest. Some of the most popular objects will be finding new homes throughout the galleries.

    Blackmore’s First Lady will remain in the gallery, with reduced opening hours:

    Closed: Monday 29 February–Friday 1 April 2016

    Open: Saturday 2 April–Sunday 2 October 2016

    Closed: Monday 3 October–December 2016

    About the exhibition

    Watermarks explores a coastal culture's love of water, in the museum's most spectacular exhibition space.

    In the ANZ Tall Gallery, a soaring 34-metre-high space, climb on board Kay Cottee's legendary globe-circling yacht Blackmores First Lady (PDF, 193kb). High above your head sails Britannia, a classic 18-foot skiff built in 1919. Look out for the boat built from beer cans, a uniquely Australian vessel!

    The Aussie Cossie

    Iconic Australian figures spring from our deep love of the ocean - the bronzed lifesaver, bathing beauty and champion swimmer. They take shape in our collection of swimming costumes, surfboards and beach toys. Our swimwear dates from a  weighty 1900s bathing costume to sleek 1930s racerback suits and Olympic performance suits.

    Tragedy and Triumph

    Review a history of aquatic adventure and achievement. Watch a video tracing the four fateful days of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race in which six sailors died and an emergency operation rescued 55 others. View the 'Oarsome Foursome's' gold-medal winning rowing shell from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Don't miss remarkable Spirit of Australia (PDF, 183kb), the world's fastest boat that still holds an incredible 30-year speed record.

    Ticket Information

    Open daily, 9.30am–5pm

    FREE entry

    See our Admissions page for full price information and to book your tickets. Our Plan Your Visit page has everything you need to know about a trip to the museum.

    Become a Maritime Museum Member and receive FREE or discounted entry to all our events and exhibitions. 

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    Watermarks gallery at the Australian National Maritime MuseumWatermarks gallery at the Australian National Maritime MuseumWatermarks gallery at the Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Info for Teachers and Schools

    Info for Teachers and Schools

    Excursion preparation information for visiting schools: Plan Your Visit

    Book a school visit and program

    Teacher resources

  • Go Sailing

    Go Sailing

    The museum offers 2 unique sailing experiences where you can either enjoy a day out on Sydney Harbour or become part of the HMB’s working crew!

    Sail the Endeavour

    Sail the James Craig

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