Lloyd Marken is a freelance writer with a passion for the arts who has been published with Scenestr, Heavy, Buzz, X-Press, FilmInk and Weekend Notes. Visit my blog at https://backtothedrawingboardproductions.com/
This is a chance, maybe for the last time, to take in the most recent maritime history in the region from colonial period to Federation, through two world wars to the 21st century when a young 16-year-old girl made an epic voyage around the globe.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - Queensland Maritime Museum Interior
The main building is full of things you would hope to see in such a museum. Painstakingly constructed scale models of giant cruise liners that sailed the open seas, donated historical artefacts scrubbed up and preserved that were held by crew members decades ago, search lights that predate electricity, unique leisure craft built by handy locals and paintings drawn quite often by sailors themselves who capture a mariner's life in a way only they could.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - Smoking Room of QGSY Lucinda
There are some surprises along the way, including a recreation of the smoking room from the Queensland Government Steam Yacht Lucinda where Sir Edmund Barton and Charles Kingston finalised the draft constitution of the Australian Commonwealth while sailing the Hawkesbury River in 1891.
Another display dedicated to Jessica Watson brings home the scope of her achievement. During her voyage she could not stop at any port - nor take any re-supply from another boat. She was on her own out there for 210 days with only what she had packed onboard, making repairs and enduring harsh storms.
Later as an oceanographic survey ship in the 1960s she discovered the deepest part of the Indian Ocean and served as an escort ship to the royal yacht during an Australian tour by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - HMAS Diamantina discovered Diamantina Deep
The scope of their laudable work can be found in every display, just one example is a 'renovated tractor' from the 1920s that was used at the Hamilton Wharves and changed hands from a car museum in the 1970s to the Queensland Museum to the QMM.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - 'Renovated' Towmotor Tractor Model B
It took over ten years work from two volunteers who moved from one museum to the other, but that tractor now looks brand new. More impressively, over a century after it came off the factory line these two volunteers have made it fully operational again – yes it runs!
The sea brought with it trade, migration, and war in all its forms. Our maritime history is one of regrets and shame but also development and rebirth. The Museum allows you to experience and learn about all of this.
Having opened fifty years ago this year, the Museum has its own history too. Having been through multiple economic downturns and had its dry dock flooded twice in 1974 and 2011 – it was COVID that made it untenable to stay open.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - The Queensland Maritime Museum needs your help.
However, a petition has been raised calling on the QMM to be made part of the Queensland Museum Network which would secure its future. So far over 15,000 people have showed their support and signed the petition which can be found here.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - The Queensland Maritime Museum is fighting to stay open.
A trial re-opening occurred the last week of January under a COVID-safe plan and off the back of media coverage to great success. But ongoing support from the community will give the museum its best chance of remaining open well into the future.
Now is the time to visit.
The sea is calling, will you heed her call and step aboard the Queensland Maritime Museum before it's too late.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - The Queensland Maritime Museum welcomes you aboard.