CHANGING COMMUNITIES. CHANGING LIVES.

For decades across the Queensland Museum Network, hundreds of volunteers have generously given their time and knowledge to ensure visitors to our museums enjoy an experience to remember. This year for National Volunteer Week, we celebrate the theme, “Changing Communities. Changing Lives”. We know our volunteers do exactly that, with visitors often speaking of the lasting impression left after an encounter or tour with a … Continue reading CHANGING COMMUNITIES. CHANGING LIVES.

Contemporary collecting: Recording history as it happens

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside the collections at Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. What springs to mind when you think of museums? How about words like old, ancient, artefact or taxidermy? That’s not surprising.  Museums have a long history of collecting and displaying ‘curiosities’ just like … Continue reading Contemporary collecting: Recording history as it happens

A step in the right direction for Magnetic Island’s giant clams

This is the third installment of a blog monitoring a bleaching event currently occurring in reefs off Magnetic Island, 14kms from the coast of Townsville in North Queensland. Since February 2020, a team of local marine biologists have been monitoring 14 giant clams along the snorkel trails of Geoffrey Bay which were showing signs of severe bleaching. The team returned again in March and observed … Continue reading A step in the right direction for Magnetic Island’s giant clams

In Focus: The Ernie Grant Collection

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside the collections at Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. In 2016, the Queensland Museum purchased a collection of items from Jirrbal Elder, Dr Ernie Grant. The Ernie Grant Collection, now housed at Museum of Tropical Queensland, represents the cultural and social life … Continue reading In Focus: The Ernie Grant Collection

The last dicynodont? A 100 year old fossil mystery with bite

Dicynodonts were a group of plant eating stem-mammals (often called mammal-like reptiles), which with their toothless beaks and tusks looked a bit like a mix between a hippo and a tortoise, without the shell. These animals were the most diverse and abundant herbivores in the second half of the Permian and during the Triassic periods, around 270 and 201 million years ago, after which they … Continue reading The last dicynodont? A 100 year old fossil mystery with bite

Update on Magnetic Island’s Giant Clams

This is the 2nd installment of a blog monitoring a bleaching event currently occurring in reefs off Magnetic Island, 14kms from the coast of Townsville in North Queensland Unfortunately by 7 March, approximately two weeks since the last inspection, the bleaching of the giant clams along the snorkel trails of Magnetic Island had worsened. In just a few short weeks, the number of giant clams … Continue reading Update on Magnetic Island’s Giant Clams

North Queensland giant clams under stress

Giant clams are large and beautiful reef animals, the largest bivalve molluscs in the world, commonly reaching more than a metre in length. Like reef-building corals, they have symbiotic algae in their tissues, and under extreme heat stress can bleach like corals do. This results in the symbiotic algae being ejected from their tissues and they turn white. Currently, a giant clam bleaching event is … Continue reading North Queensland giant clams under stress

Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of archaeology in Oceania

As part of the Collective Biography of Archaeology in the Pacific (CBAP) Project (led by the Australian National University in Canberra), the Museum of Tropical Queensland is currently participating in the worldwide exhibition, Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of archaeology in Oceania. The collaborative display is featured in over 30 collecting institutions around the world, and explores the ideas, people and networks that were pivotal in … Continue reading Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of archaeology in Oceania

Cowboys in the Museum

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. Like most Queenslanders, I grew up knowing that Rugby League was a central part of life. I remember sitting with my dad watching the Friday Night Footy, the entire family wearing jerseys or … Continue reading Cowboys in the Museum

Re-imagining Pandora

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. In 1790, HMS Pandora sailed out of England with a clear mission: to find the HMS Bounty and its 25 mutineers. Pandora reached Tahiti in March 1791, and captured 14 of the mutineers, … Continue reading Re-imagining Pandora

Snapshots in Time

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. You don’t often go to a new place without seeing at least one postcard for sale. Beaches, small towns, big cities – there’s always a tourist shop, and there’s always a postcard stand. … Continue reading Snapshots in Time

NAIDOC WEEK

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. The 7-14 July marks the 2019 NAIDOC Week. Each year, NAIDOC Week celebrates the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC Week is commemorated by both Indigenous communities … Continue reading NAIDOC WEEK

14 June 2019: Bicentenary of Philip Parker King and the HMS Mermaid visiting the Townsville Area

This article is the first in a series about the historical maritime mapping and interaction along the North Queensland coastline. The Mermaid at Cape Cleveland On Sunday 14 June 1819, HMS Mermaid rounded Cape Cleveland in north Queensland and made an unscheduled stop, anchoring off present day Red Rock Bay. In command was Lieutenant Phillip Parker King RN, the Australian-born son of the third New South Wales … Continue reading 14 June 2019: Bicentenary of Philip Parker King and the HMS Mermaid visiting the Townsville Area

National Reconciliation Week

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) celebrates the shared histories, cultures and accomplishments of Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders and the broader Australian community. It urges all Australians to learn … Continue reading National Reconciliation Week

Well, that’s a pickle!

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories Sometimes when working with the collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, you see an object that just makes you stop in your tracks. The object featured today is one that really made … Continue reading Well, that’s a pickle!

Celebrating women’s history

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. At the Museum of Tropical Queensland, we have a team of incredible women who look after our collections, our research, our visitors, and our galleries. Behind closed doors, much of our collection was also built … Continue reading Celebrating women’s history

The Myth of the Mermaid

This blog post is the first in an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. Everyone knows the myth of the mermaid – the half woman, half fish, who is sometimes kind and at other times a source of evil who lures unassuming sailors to their deaths. But where … Continue reading The Myth of the Mermaid

A compass gimbal from Mermaid

Written by Carl Tanner, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

The final part of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches.

The shipwreck

HMCS Mermaid was built at the Howrah Dry Docks on the Hooghly River in Calcutta, India, in 1816, by the shipwrights Thompson (Phipps 1840:108, 123). Built out of Indian teak, it was iron-fastened and clad in copper sheathing along the keel (Hosty 2009:17). Designed as a cutter, it was originally rigged as a one-masted ship, but was refitted later into an armed, two-masted schooner (Hosty 2009:17; ANSD 2017). The ship displaced 83-85 gross registered tons, was 17m in length, 5.48-5.6m in beam and had a draught of 2.7m (Hosty 2009:17; Phipps 1840:123; ANSD 2017).

Continue reading “A compass gimbal from Mermaid”

A porthole from Gothenburg

Written by Tia Eagleson, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

Part of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches.

 The shipwreck

The site of the Gothenburg wreck is in Flinders Passage, North QLD (Latitude: -19.37 Longitude: 148.06). Gothenburg was built in the UK in 1854 by Mr. John Scott Russel. The vessel, a twin-screw steamer, has numerous features in view at the site of the wreck which are indicative of the build of the ship. These consist of two compound single screw engines each with 60 individual horsepower, two decks and three masts and a female figurehead with an elliptical shaped stern. The dimensions of the ship were 59.92m in length, 8.6m in width and 3.23m in depth. Overall, the vessel weighed approximately 737 tonnes. This shipwreck is identified as number 2563 (Australian National Shipwreck Database; Central Queensland Herald 1931:13).

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Copper-alloy sheathing from Coolangatta

Written by Caroline Mercer, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler

Part 3 of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches.

The shipwreck

Coolangatta was built by John Brinksell in 1843 in Shoalhaven, New South Wales (NSW) (Davidson 2014). It was commissioned and owned by Alexander Berry, who named the brigantine sailing vessel after his property in the area (Potts 2010). The boat’s life was largely spent transporting goods up and down the eastern coast of Australia, bringing materials such as coal to the north and most often returning to Sydney with a cargo of timber (Potts 2010). At the time of the wrecking of Coolangatta, it had recently delivered coal to Brisbane and was starting its return trip back to Sydney when it was wrecked. On 19 August 1846, Coolangatta was driven ashore during a gale as it attempted to enter the Tweed River (Davidson 2014). The ship was abandoned by the crew and Captain Steele, after it was stripped of any removable gear and rigging (Davidson 2014). A couple of months later there was an attempt to repair the vessel, with Brinksell being brought up from NSW to repair the damage on the port side (Davidson 2014). However, shortly after the wreck was lifted onto rollers, another gale forced it into a worse position and the keel broke, ending any hopes of repairing the ship (Potts 2010).

Continue reading “Copper-alloy sheathing from Coolangatta”