Maritime Museum of Tasmania

Maritime Museum of Tasmania

Maritime Museum of Tasmania

The Maritime Museum of Tasmania is housed in Hobart's old Carnegie Library Building. It is appropriately sited diagonally opposite Constitution Dock, that welcome haven for yachts competing in the annual Sydney-Hobart yacht race. The Museum is largely run by volunteers.

Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Maritime Museum of Tasmania

On the ground floor are two galleries with thematic displays on Tasmania's maritime history and a museum shop. Upstairs are offices, a library and storage areas. The Museum is actively involved in fostering an appreciation of Maritime History in Tasmania, it offers guided tours of the dock area, and staff are available to answer enquiries.

16 Argyle Street, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia
+61 03 62341427
Fax: +61 03 62341419
Monday - Sunday 9:00am - 5:00pm. Closed Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.
$7.00 Adult, $5.00 Concession, $4.00 Student (13-18), children under 13 FREE, $16.00 Family.
Wheelchair access, small sales area, off street parking, guided tours, library, research area, volunteer/holiday programs.
The Museum has a fine collection of artefacts relating specifically to the maritime history of Tasmania as well as items of general maritime interest. The exhibition, "Maritime Tasmania" was opened by the Queen in March 2000. It covers themes such as the early reconnaissance of Tasmania, whaling and the keen role of ketches in linking Tasmanian communities.

The story of the Derwent River ferries is told using a wonderful collection of ferry models made by a member of the O'May family which for three generations and one hundred years ran a Derwent River ferry service. Other intriguing artefacts on display are a large eagle sternboard from the 1860s American whaler "Islander", and the companionway hatch from the Otago, once captained by Moby Dick author, Joseph Conrad. An item of great local significance is a convict built dinghy. This was given as a wedding present in 1871 to the wife of John Wilson, ex master shipwright at Port Arthur and founder of Wilson shipyards at Cygnet

Periodically temporary displays are organised, for example a Maritime Art Prize and an exhibition on the French Exploration of Tasmania. The Museum also has many items in storage including a large photographic collection, which can be drawn upon to answer queries and provide information to the public.


Dinah Wilson's wedding dinghy

Length of the dinghy: 12" 3' Material: Huon pine, unknown Eucalypt.

It wasn't perhaps the most romantic wedding gift in the world, but this dinghy was no doubt much appreciated by John Wilson's bride Dinah when it was presented to her shortly after they married in 1872.

Mrs Wilson rowing her wedding present
Mrs Wilson rowing her wedding present

During the early years of their marriage she would row the 10 km from their home in Cygnet to her husband's work place in Esperance twice a week. Although not a sturdy work boat, the dinghy was a reliable vessel and was still being rowed by Mrs Wilson 65 years later. It is the only known convict-built dinghy in Australian collections.

The dinghy was built by ex-convict Walter Paisley who had been imprisoned as a youngster at Point Puer, the boys' prison near Point Arthur. Wilson and Paisley may have met when Wilson was employed as master shipwright at Port Arthur. Wilson was the founder in the 1860s of a wooden boatbuilding business that is still operating today.