Queensland Maritime Museum At South Bank

The Queensland Maritime Museum is at the southern or down river end of the Southbank area, and it packs a lot of Australian history into a small site.

If you've any interest in ships or the sea, it's a fascinating place to visit. The museum is comprised of displays of many actual historical marine vessels, and there is a museum as well.

As well as being open to visits from single members of the public, the museum is also open to group visits. It is an excellent resource for school teachers to use to aid students to learn more about Australian history.

The various displays assist you to learn a lot more about the history of the many ships that have contributed to the growth of Brisbane. There are a number of displays that take you back through maritime history and explain how various ships have historically had a role to place in events that shaped the history of this city.

© David Jackmanson  | Flickr - Queensland Maritime Museum

The museum has quite a large and wide ranging collection of models of various types of ships including sailing ships. Many of the early immigrants came to Australia aboard sailing ships, and it is interesting to see information about these early ships.  If you have ancestors who traveled to Brisbane on a sailing ship, you might enjoy the models of early sailing ships such as the Endeavour and Bounty.

One of its many exhibits of Queensland maritime history is the coal-burning tug, in the picture above, that was somewhat appropriately named Forceful. Forceful was built in Glasgow, Scotland for Brisbane owners. She began service in 1926, and was decommissioned in 1970, and came to the museum in 1971. 

Pride of place for the Queensland Maritime Museum exhibits goes to HMAS Diamantina, a World War 2 frigate of the Royal Australian Navy, shown in the two pictures below.  She comes complete with examples of guns and torpedo which you can see on the dockside beside the forward gangway.

Diamantina was built in in Queensland and commissioned in 1945, just as the second world war was drawing to a close. However, she was involved in the last days of the fighting and took the surrender of the Japanese garrisons on Nauru and Ocean Islands.

Queensland Maritime Museum, HMAS Diamantina

This makes Diamantina one of only two ships remaining on which surrenders were signed. After the war, this ship served as a survey and oceanographic research vessel. It was during these voyages that researchers discovered the deepest place in the Indian Ocean, which was named Diamantina trench after the ship.

Another interesting exhibit from Queensland's maritime history is the Torres Strait pearling lugger, Penguin, seen in the photo on the left below. Penguin was built in 1907 as the Mercia, for the pearl shell fishing trade around those waters. The vessel was taken over by the armed forces during World War 2 but returned to fishing after the war.

Penguin came to the Museum in 1982 and has since been completely restored to her pearling days rig. She is finished in the colors of Duaun Island, where she spent much of her last working days. 

Less glamorous perhaps than some of the exhibits but vitally necessary to safe navigation is the lightship, which is featured in the photo on the right below. This vessel is the Carpentaria lightship from Queensland's northern waters. The role of this ship to provide a safety beacon or floating lighthouse was imperative for the colony at a time when sufficient lighthouses had yet to be built.

Queensland Maritime Museum, pearling lugger
Queensland Maritime Museum, Carpentaria lightship

There are also other vessels at the Queensland Maritime Museum that are not pictured here. Visitors are welcome to take photographs and the staff there are very helpful in this regard. As well you can see the many models of boats and ships, big and small that had a role in Brisbane's history.

The museum does not just cover vessels, although they are of course very interesting.  The Queensland Maritime Museum also has displays featuring lighthouses, including the ex-Bulwer Island Tower which is located in the grounds as well. Also of interest is the display featuring early women who went to sea, including a woman pirate! This is not a subject that gets a lot of attention, and few people have heard of this aspect of our history.  As well you can see early maps, as well as ways and methods used to navigate in the past.

© J Brew  | Flickr - Queensland Maritime museum

Opening Hours At The Queensland Maritime Museum

Opening Hours: Open daily between 9.30am to 4.30pm , but last admission is at 3.30pm.

The museum is open every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and Good Friday, except for reduced hours on Anzac Day, which is Australia and New Zealand's day to remember their military veterans. 

Admission Price:  Adults $12 Children $6 and you can also buy a family group ticket for $28, which includes 2 adults and three children under 15 years.

Pensioners, Seniors and Students with card: $11

To see if there have been any changes to the Queensland Maritime Museum opening hours or admission, or to see if there have been changes to their displays, please check out the official website of the Museum: Maritime Museum 

As the museum is located in the Southbank Parkland area, it is well serviced by a variety of modes of transport. You can travel there using buses, trains or the Brisbane City Cat. Taking the CityCat Ferry Service allows you to enjoy a scenic trip on a modern boat that travels  up and down the Brisbane River.

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