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 5 June, is entitled HMS Cracker - A master’s log from the Napoleonic Wars and will be presented by Bill Jeffrey, Historian and proprietor of Voyager Rare Books, Maps and Prints.

A prized possession in the Voyager collection is the log of Master Nicholson of HMS Cracker (12 gun-brig Archer Class) in 1810 enforcing the blockade in the English Channel.  A gun-brig was a small brig-rigged warship used extensively by the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. In general, these were vessels of under 200 tons, which carried 12 guns comprising two long guns and ten carronades. HMS Cracker was built by Thomas Pitcher at Northfleet and launched in June 1804. It was eventually sold off in November 1815.


This presentation will bring to life the Master’s log, which will also be on display. The crew’s day to day activities are described as the vessel prepares for active duty. Before going into action, the Cracker is called to assist in the salvage of a wreck. Then it’s out into the Channel and the chase is on – ships are recaptured prisoners taken. Crew are “pressed” and cannon are fired. In the true Hornblower tradition, you can smell the sea air, the spent powder in the air, feel the wind against your face as the Cracker fills its sails.


Bill Jeffrey, a scientist by training, started Voyager in Brisbane nine years ago and moved to Hobart in 2015 bringing his extensive and varied collection with him. Voyager has rare first-hand accounts on many subjects including exploration and travel by sea and land in Africa, Peru, Polar regions, Asia and the Australian Outback. A special interest in Tasmania, Queensland, New Guinea and Maritime. Early science, naval and military items, natural history, fine bindings, esoteric and beautiful illustrated works, as well as novels from the 1930’s, with eye catching dust jackets. Collectable bookends, scientific instruments, microscopes and spectroscopes, maps and prints.

Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm Tuesday 5 June 2018
Place: ROYAL SOCIETY ROOMS, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, (Davey Street entrance).
Phone the Maritime Museum on 6234 1427 for more details.