Warship and Marine Corps Museum

My work as a heritage consultant and historical researcher, takes me to many places across the globe and many types of heritage structures and institutions some of which would not consider themselves as museums.

I have learned that comparing museums across the world is not the best way to enjoy or to review them. Their merit should be based on their content, curation, display and ability to engage publics, bearing in mind they may be on quite difficult funding, personal and space constraints. I therefore have only one scale, in that I divide museums into “large” (often national), “medium” and “small”.

One of the interesting recent museum visits was to the Warship & Marine Corps Museum on the striking East coast of Tasmania. This is a small museum tucked away on a side street off the main street in the small town of St. Helens.

This museum includes over 10,000 artefacts passionately collected by curator Brian Morrison over a period of 55 years and now displayed in eight rooms of varying size. The eclectic yet specifically maritime collection really is a treasure throve.

As ex-merchant navy man, Mr. Morrison was drawn to collect and preserve Tasmania’s rich colonial maritime history. But the collection includes many artefacts that are not related to Tasmania and a few date back over 600 years.

I was amazed to find in this collection a life-buoy from the First World War German cruiser SMS Königsberg, destroyed in the Rufuji Delta, Tanzania, as well as images of Rear-Admiral Herbert King-Hall. All of this is very much part of my family history and a narrative I never expected to interact with in Tasmania, let alone in St. Helens.

Museum Information: http://warshipmuseum.com

Location: St. Helens on the east coast of Tasmania.

Admission: $7.00. Concession: $5.00 (For Pensioners, Break of Day residents and Students over 16). $2:00 Children (aged 9-15).

Opening Hours: Summer 10:00-17:00 Everyday apart for Tuesdays.

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Clifford Pereira FRGS

Hailing from Mombasa, Kenya. Cliff's research interests began in 1982 when he first travelled Asia following the routes of the epic voyages of the Fifteenth century Chinese admiral Zheng He. He later graduated with a BA(Hons) in Geography with Asian Studies (Ulster University). After a career in tourism Cliff became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He returned to historical research in 2001 on a variety of themes leading to an exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society on the Bombay Africans (2007) and is regarded as the world specialist on the subject. Cliff was Honorary Research Assistant to Royal Holloway's Geography Department (2011-2014) and Visiting Research Assistant to Dalian Maritime University, China (2011-2015). Cliff was researcher-curator on the Bait-Jelmood Museum, Qatar (2013-2016) and research-curator for the National Museum of Qatar, specialising in the Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean (2016-2018). Cliff was Visiting Research Assistant at the University of Hong Kong (2016-2023). He completed a MA(Res) on the History of Africa and the African Diaspora (University of Chichester) with distinction in 2021. He is presently distance-working on the African collection of the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC Vancouver, Canada and continues to research and consult for a number of UK heritage institutions. He describes himself as a historical geographer and has been a speaker on various subjects in China, Malaysia, Canada, USA, South Africa, Italy, the UK and on the cruise liners Silversea and Swan Hellenic. He has numerous papers and chapters in publications around the world.