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Explore The Exhibits

The exhibits are many and varied. The list below outlines the main categories of the Museum collection.


*Click headings below for more information;

Feature Exhibits

The main exhibits include:

  • LIFEBOAT Queenscliffe - the core of the Museum collection
  • Port Phillip Sea Pilots
  • Port Phillip Steamer trade
  • Lighthouses
  • Boat Building Shed

Other exhibits include:

  • In the Same Boat - exhibition of shipwrecks in Port Phillip and around the Heads
  • Hydrographic model of the Rip - the treacherous entrance to Port Phillip
  • Dive display
  • Shipwrecks and artefacts
  • Lifesaving equipment
  • Historical postcards
  • Model ships
  • Sea Kayak display
  • HMVS Lonsdale interpretive panel

More Historic Vessels represented in the collection include:

  • DAVID CLARKE - The first ship to arrive in Melbourne carrying assisted migrants
  • CLIPPER LIGHTNING - The fastest wooden ship ever built. The Lightning burned to her waterline in Geelong in 1869
  • PILOT SCHOONER RIP - The model of the Pilot schooner Rip is magnificent


A 3 dimensional model of the entrance to Port Phillip, known as the 'Rip'.
Horizontal scale: 1:5000.
Vertical scale: exaggerated by a factor of 10.
The exhibit identifies major features of geomorphology and navigation details.
The Model was made by H J Reed, Hydrographer, Queenscliff from surveys completed in 1983.


Includes an early Siebe Gorman helmet, suit, hand operated air compressor and closed circuit breathing apparatus, early scuba suits, regulators, weight belts and, underwater cameras.
A Snead shallow water diving helmet and lever pump are also part of the display. Young visitors (and the young at heart) can experience what it felt like to wear a dive helmet.


Artefacts on display include items from the SS Time which was stranded on Corsair Rock in 1949. The salvage rights and cargo were bought by a local consortium of 8 people.
Following the removal and sale of her cargo of sugar, timber and hides an auction of the equipment and fittings from the wreck of the Time was held in the park at Queenscliff.
Many of the items purchased during the auction have been donated or loaned to the Museum to form an extensive Time collection.


An important part of the Lifeboat display is the rocket launching equipment used to bring stranded people to shore with the help of pulleys, ropes and a breeches buoy.
This equipment, along with a Schermuly rocket pistol, signal pistol, rocket line throwing apparatus, lifeboat crew wet weather gear, life jackets, armbands and citations for bravery complement the restored Lifeboat Queenscliffe.


The Sea Kayak used by adventurer Paul Caffyn to paddle around Australia in 1981/82 was given to the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum following the 25th anniversary of that first kayak circumnavigation. Paul's kayak Lalaguli forms the start of a growing collection which recognises the popularity of the Sea Kayak sport around Port Phillip.
In 2009 Freya Hoffmeister became the first woman to paddle around Australia; her kayak is now on display in the Museum.
Earl de Blonville and John Brewster made the first circumnavigation of Tasmania by kayak in 1979. The kayak used in this voyage has recently been loaned to the Museum by Earle.
A new sea kayak display has recently been installed to tell the stories of the 3 kayak expeditions. Slide shows illustrating the 3 voyages run continuously alongside the display.

Information about the Sea Kayak journeys listed below are available at the Museum.

  • Paul Caffyn Round Australia Kayak Expedition 1981-82
  • Paul Caffyn 25th Anniversary celebration
  • Freya Hoffmeister Australia circumnavigation by kayak 2009
  • Earl de Blonville Tasmania circumnavigation by kayak 1979


An extensive collection of old Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale postcards is part of a display of postcards from around Port Phillip. Some historical postcards are available from the Gift Shop.


Browse the exhibition of nautical pictures on display including tall ships under sail and early steam ships. Our Librarian has developed a comprehensive index of pictures of ships that have brought immigrants to our shores. This information can be viewed by visitors to the museum.


There are many models on display including a collection of ships in bottles, as well as anchors from the Komet and Eliza Ramsden, propellers from a J Class Submarine, buoys, channel markers and lights.

Some hands-on activities include:

  • Sound a portable fog horn
  • Ring ships bells
  • Try a morse key
  • Play on Benito's Pirate Boat, or on Defiance Too a red wooden boat, both located in the museum grounds.