Tasmania's Maritime Heritage Coast

Ever wanted to sail a tall ship or river steamer, or to build your own wooden boat? Wanted to visit an island lighthouse, or the remotest museum in Australia? Or to touch a sea-urchin? How about tall but true stories of fishermen, whalers, river boatmen and light-keeper's families? 

The Maritime Heritage Organisations of Tasmania care for the heritage places, vessels and maritime museums that celebrate our relationship with the sea and our spectacular, ever-changing coast. This page provides a snapshot of these organisations and activities. If your organisation would like to join MHOoT, contact us on 6234 1427.

In the South

The Australian Wooden Boat Festival
Presented every second year (festivals will be held in 2017, 2019 and 2021), this is the largest wooden boat festival in the Southern Hemisphere displaying more than 550 wooden boats of all sizes and classes on the Hobart waterfront. A four-day program lights up the docks with music, entertainment, exhibitions, a Maritime Marketplace, an International Wooden Boat Symposium and harbour cruising.  The festival is entirely free to the public and offers dozens of activities for children and adults.  The Australian Wooden Boat Festival maintains a lively and informative website and blog at www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au

Australian Wooden Boat Festival, Inc.
Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Place,Battery Point, TAS 7004
(03) 6223 3375
Email: office@australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au

• Bligh Pacific Museum of Exploration

The display relates to Pacific Exploration from 1600 to 2000, captured in maps, documents, paintings and objects. The museum was established in 1954 by the late Dr J Bruce Hamilton to house his collection of memorabilia associated with discoveries made by famous explorers such as Tasman, Furneaux, Cook, Bligh, D'Entrecastreaux, Flinders, Baudin and many others.

Open daily 10am – 4pm
876 Adventure Bay Rd. Adventure Bay, Bruny Island, 7150
03 6293 1117
Email blighmuseum@gmail.com


• Cape Bruny Lighthouse
This lighthouse is one of the oldest still accessible to the public, and was built in 1838 by convicts using local stone. The light station takes coastal synoptic weather observations every three hours as it has since 1871. Guided tours of the lighthouse and site museum are available. Enjoy the stunning views of the Southern Ocean and South West Wilderness - you can even book a stay in your own light keeper’s cottage.
1750 Lighthouse Rd., South Bruny Island
Phone South Bruny National Park
03 6293 1419

• Channel Heritage Centre
Come and see what life was like in a scallop splitter’s shed and learn how fishing and fruit orchards went hand in hand along the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Learn about the Channel’s long history of boat-building, using the timbers that once grew down to the shore-lines, and the traditional trading routes between the Channel townships and Hobart.
1755 Channel Highway Margate, Tasmania
03 6267 2333
Email Secretary@channelheritagecentre.org.au

• Mount Nelson Signal Station
Built in 1811, the signal station at Mount Nelson was the first to be constructed in Tasmania. Today, Mount Nelson Signal Station offers a fascinating insight into the history of the early colony. Informative panels describe the process of semaphore signalling, station life and the role the station played in report shipping, initially for the Port of Hobart and later for both Hobart and Port Arthur.
The station offers visitors beautiful views over the city and mouth of the Derwent River. There is a picnic area nearby with unsheltered picnic tables and BBQs. The lookouts and nearby Station Café are wheelchair accessible, as are the toilets next to the car-park. The adjoining Bicentennial Park (managed by Hobart City Council) and Truganini Conservation Area both have extensive walking tracks.
End of Nelson Road, Mount Nelson
Hobart Parks & Wildlife Service Head Office: 1300 135 513

• Lady Nelson and Tasmanian Sail Training Association
Based at the beautiful Hobart waterfront and just minutes' walk from the centre of town, this full size replica of a historic brig is a popular sight with locals and tourists alike. Enjoy a sail on the majestic 'Lady Nelson' on the River Derwent. Passengers are able to help set sails, take a turn at the helm or just enjoy the feel of a traditional sailing ship at sea.
'Lady Nelson' sails on the harbour each weekend and is also available for private charters and educational or school charters.
Elizabeth Street Pier, Hobart
036234 3348
Email enquiries@ladynelson.org.au

• Living Boat Trust
The Living Boat Trust is a community association based in Franklin. We aim to maintain traditional boat building, repairing, rowing and sailing skills.
With weekly workshops in the boat shed, sail training, and adventures on the river, including' Swallows & Amazons' cruises and ‘Three Men in a Boat’ re-enactments, the Living Boat Trust brings the Huon River to life.
3337 Huon Highway, Franklin 7113
Email sec@lbt.org.au

 • Runnymede
A rare 19th century whaling family’s home named after Captain Charles Bayley’s favourite ship, Runnymede was the home of members of the family for more than 100 years. The house contains rich collections of material related to the whaling and maritime interests of the family as well as artworks and family possessions of the previous owner Bishop Francis Nixon, Tasmania’s first Anglican Bishop. Runnymede survives with house, cottage and coach house within extensive gardens.
61 Bay Road, New Town, Hobart
03 6278 1269
Email Runnymede@nationaltrusttas.org.au

• Woodbridge Marine Centre
Situated in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel at Woodbridge in southeast Tasmania, the Marine Discovery Centre gives students of all ages the opportunity to learn about, discover and care for the marine environment through diverse shore and sea based programs. The Marine Discovery Centre is a Department of Education facility and part of Woodbridge School.
Built over the water, the Centre is ideally located to help Tasmanian students discover and learn about their marine environment. The Centre has its own research vessel, the MV 'Penghana', and houses fully equipped teaching areas, an aquarium room, marine pond and touch tanks, as well as displays of marine life, human impacts and fishing technology.
The centre is open to the public on Wednesdays 2.15-4pm.
Jetty Road, Woodbridge
03 6267 4649

• Wooden Boat Guild
Tasmania is home to Huon Pine, one of the world's finest boat building timbers, and also home to some of Australia's finest wooden boats.
The Guild was formed in 1994 by a group wishing to keep and support wooden boat heritage and craft in Tasmania. Members of the Wooden Boat Guild of Tasmania see their role as being one of nurturing and educating in the art of wooden boat building and restoration. The Guild also cares for the restored 1880s yacht 'Terra Linna'.
The Guild meets on the third Monday of each month at the Bellerive Regatta Pavilion, Victoria Esplanade, Bellerive TAS 7018 at 19:30 hrs. New members are always welcome.

On the East Coast

• Spring Bay Maritime Museum
Until the Tasman Highway was constructed, small sailing ships serviced the settlements of the Spring Bay area, bringing settlers and their supplies and carrying stock and other produce to Hobart for sale. During the 20th century the Spring Bay area has been a centre for wooden boat building and the local fishing industry.
We acknowledge this proud past and seek to build on it as a catalyst for future development of our area. Our Centre is also home to a Community Shed, where locals collect and repair small boats and maritime artefacts. Due to maintenance delays our centre is only open by appointment or for special events
17 Esplanade, Triabunna
Email Dale Pearce dmpearce1@bigpond.com

• St Helens History Room
First a stopping-off point for whalers, St. Helens became a busy port exporting tin ore and timber to the mainland, and crayfish to Hobart and Launceston. At the museum, you will discover the story of determined entrepreneur Ewart Tucker, who built his own ships to ensure his timber was shipped to Melbourne and Hobart; fishing and rigging tools carved from whale bone with some beautiful scrimshaw on display; and a textile triptych including the historic ships that have played an important role in the area.
Open 7 days a week, 9 am -5 pm
61 Cecilia Street St. Helens
6376 1479
Email historyroom@bodc.tas.gov.au


• Warships & Marine Corps Museum
The Warships & Marine Corps Museum (International) is a private collection established in 1963 aiming to preserve international naval history. It has relocated from its original home in Franklin to St Helen's on Tasmania's east coast.
Please check the Museum's website for details of opening hours.
PO Box 412, St Helen's, Tasmania, 7216
Email warshipmuseum@gmail.com

In the North

• Bass & Flinders Centre
Come and have a guided tour replica sloop HMCS Norfolk, and replica whale boat Elizabeth. Hear about explorers Bass and Flinders and their experiences in the open sloop Norfolk and Bern Cuthbertson’s 1988 centenary re-enactment of this historic voyage.
Open daily 10am-4pm
8 Elizabeth Street, George Town
03 63823792
Email info@bassandflinders.org.au

• Deal Island Lightstation
Deal Island Lightstation has one of the remotest museums in Australia- you have to sail to get there! Located on a tiny archipelago in Bass Strait, the museum is housed in the lighthouse keeper’s cottage and is looked after by volunteer caretakers all year round. Wildcare inc. volunteers also fundraise and organise expeditions to control weeds and maintain the site. If you would like to help, contact Parks & Wildlife on the number below.
Deal Island, Kent Island Group Bass Strait
Phone Flinders Island Field Centre:
03 6359 2217

• Low Head Pilot Station & Museum
Low Head Pilot Station is the oldest group of pilot buildings in Australia. The Tamar estuary is a dangerous waterway: the pilot service began in 1805 and continues from this site today. Low Head’s Pilot Station museum tells stories of the pilots, Bass Strait whaling and sealing and shipping disasters and has temporary exhibitions so there’s always something new to see. You can enjoy stunning views of Bass Strait and the Tamar from the lighthouse, or even stay at one of the pilot’s cottages.
399 Low Head Rd. Low Head
Opening Hours: 10am until 4pm daily
03 63821143
Email museum@lowhead.com

In the North-West

• Bass Strait Maritime Centre
Are you ready to take the challenge of Bass Strait? Experience first-hand sailing the treacherous stretch of water in the way vessels were sailed in bygone days on the ketch ‘Julie Burgess’. Then come learn about the natural and human histories of Bass Strait at the new Bass Strait Maritime Centre. Contemporary and interactive displays complement the more traditional artefacts from the extensive maritime and local history collection. It will take the wind out of your sails!
6 Gloucester Avenue Devonport, 7310
03 6424 7100
Email bookings@bassstraitmc.com.au

• Burnie Regional Museum
See Burnie's early development from privately owned Emu Bay into one of Tasmania's busiest ports in the exhibition 'Early Burnie'. Burnie Regional Museum also holds the Burnie Marine Board Archive, the Fred Reid Shipping Photograph Collection and the Winter Photograph Collection.
Little Alexander Street, Burnie, Tasmania 7320
03 6430 5746
Email museum@burnie.net

• King Island Historical Museum
The King Island Historical Museum offers you the chance to be transported back in time with the island’s history.Learn about David Howie the 1840s ‘Constable of the Strait’, our lighthouses, including an original 1860 catoptric lens, and artefacts from the Brahmin, the Netherby and other ships that were wrecked ‘threading the eye of the needle’ of Bass Strait. 

•Stanley Discovery Museum
This museum takes you back in time to the early days of Stanley’s settlement by the Van Diemen’s Land Company and on to when Stanley was a busy port and rail terminus. Exhibits at the Stanley Discovery Museum include a quirky collection of shell ornaments, photographs of the local fishing industry and port, and artefacts from wrecked ships, such as the billethead of the Kermandie.
Church Street, Stanley 7331
03 6458 1330 Free call: 1300 138 229
Email info@stanley.com.au