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Museum Blog

As our national anthem proclaims, “our home is girt by sea” in fact Australia's area of maritime responsibility is some fourteen million square kilometres or twice the area of our land mass. Given our geographic position in the world surrounded by capricious oceans and our nations reliance on sea transport it is no wonder that we also are the final resting place for numerous shipwrecks. There are around eleven thousand wrecks gazetted in Australian waters equating to one wreck for every three kilometres of coastline. Some the consequence of weather, some faulty navigation others the result of wartime activity and deliberate

While there may be times in the life of a sailor that are perilous and demand hours of hard work in miserable conditions equally there are hours when not on watch that are made interminable by boredom. Ship’s masters were vigilant in ensuring that this free time did not give way to talk of sedition and mutiny. Games of chance and gambling offered a break from the rigors of shipboard life but there was always the danger of inflamed temper and disharmony among the crew over a bet gone bad. Crews on American sailing ships of the 1800’s found delight in “sailor’s

When most of us think of pirates our thoughts go to the likes of Black Beard, Black Bart and Thomas Tew names which come to us from a time when piracy on the sea was at a peak. The blood thirsty adventures of these characters have been immortalised in numerous books and movies over the years most recently in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Despite their gruesome reputations as thieves and murderers we maintain a fascination that is enduring and which perhaps this is a reflection of the convict heritage of the first European settlers to Australia. Pirating  far precedes the

Some visitors to the museum this week were surprised to see paddle wheel vessels on display. Coming from area around the Murray River which forms the boarder between much of Victoria and NSW and were used to seeing paddle-wheelers but were unaware that the North Coast the Richmond River and Port of Ballina was the home for a number of these vessels. Paddle wheels came in two styles- the stern wheel had one large paddle attached to the rear of the vessel and the side wheel which often had two wheels attached one on either side of the ship. Our visitors

It is surprising the number of visitors from Ballina Shire who visit our museum and comment that they have lived here for years had never visited before. Equally surprising are those who say that they didn’t know we had a naval and maritime museum and that they had found us by chance or through the internet. Perhaps given the fact that it is difficult to find traces of our past along the river or foreshores this may come as no surprise. To paraphrase Jamaican author Marcus Garvey, a people without the knowledge of past history, origin and culture is akin to


Monday - Sunday: 09am ‒ 04pm
7 Days per week
Closed: Christmas & Good Friday

Adults: $5
Children & Students: $2
Children with height under counter top: FREE

Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum
8 Regatta Lane Ballina NSW Australia
+61 2 6686 1002