Public Talks

The museum hosts a regular series of FREE public lunchtime talks. The talks are held on the FIRST Tuesday of each month EXCEPT January from 12.00 midday until 1.00pm in the Royal Society Rooms at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Our next talk, on Tuesday 2 July 2019, presents A Virtual Tour of Colonial Hobart Town by John Stephenson from the Digital Heritage Studio.

We are very fortunate in Tasmania to have inherited an extensive written and collections-based record of our colonial past.  Recent digitisation programs and developments in digital technologies allow us to interact with these historic records in ways that were previously unimaginable.  The technology can transform what was traditionally a passive observation of historic records into an immersive and interactive heritage experience.

The Virtual Hobart Town project is a digital 3D model of colonial Hobart, based on numerous maps, artworks, buildings plans and contemporary observations.  Using virtual reality and other digital mediums, the project allows us to visualise what it may have been like to sail in to Sullivan’s Cove in the 1820s, to walk around ‘Old Wharf’ and to go inside historic buildings.  Historic artefacts are viewed in the correct spatial and temporal context, and historic figures can be seen going about their daily business. 

This presentation will discuss the diverse range of resources that have been collated, and the tools that have been used to recreate colonial Hobart Town in digital form.  We will then embark on a unique virtual tour of the 1820s harbour, where historic observations have been combined with the latest visual outputs.  There will be an opportunity for a ‘hands on’ experience of the technology after the presentation.

John Stephenson is a Geophysicist and Surveyor who was introduced to the heritage sector by accident when his team made an unexpected archaeological discovery while exploring for oil in the Western Desert of Egypt.  This sparked an interest in applying spatial science to identify and record other historic sites.  He has since completed formal studies in archaeology and devotes much of his time to promote the many possibilities that digital technologies present to the heritage sector.  His own experience of working in remote and dangerous environments has left him with an affinity and great admiration for the explorers, whalers and early settlers of Van Diemen’s Land.

Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm Tuesday 2 July 2019.

Place: ROYAL SOCIETY ROOMS, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, (19 Davey Street entrance).
Phone the Maritime Museum on 6234 1427 or email

Future Scheduled talks (subject to change):

6 August: Aboriginal Rock Art Depiction of Ships – Sam Dix

3 September: Surfing in Tasmania and Shipstern Bluff – Mick Lawrence

1 October: Blythe Star – Michael Stoddart