Battle of the Coral Sea
A display of panels, artefacts, model ships and dioramas tells the story of Townsville’s association with the two world wars at sea, with as focal point the Battle of the Coral Sea (4-8 May 1942), which was fought between Japanese and Allied naval forces only about 885 km (477 nautical miles) north-east of Townsville. The two Royal Australian Navy vessels that participated were HMAS Hobart and HMAS Australia. The showpieces amongst the models are HMAS Nestor (dedicated to Neville George who sailed on the ship and later founded the Museum) and the American aircraft-carrier USS Lexington. A model of HMAS Albatross, an early seaplane carrier, represents the history of the Royal Australian Navy between the world wars. Also on show is a model of the famous (or infamous) World War I German auxiliary cruiser (or raider) Seeadler, probably one of the last windjammers (large steel-hulled sailing ships) used for waging war. Enhancing the display are a series of short video documentaries, courtesy of the Australian National Maritime Museum, featuring the story of the Australian submarine AE2 and Australian troop transports during World War I.
Also on show are two World War II documentaries, loaned to the Museum thanks to the generosity of the Australian National Maritime Museum. The one documentary, titled Clash of the carriers, features the Battle of the Coral Sea, using original footage and state of the art animation, making the battle through stunning visuals and sounds real as never before. This documentary is part of War and Peace in the Pacific 75, a program of the Australian National Maritime Museum supported by the USA Bicentennial Fund.
Another documentary shows the compelling story of the September 1943 raid on shipping in Singapore Harbour, carried out by members of the Allied Z Special Forces.
The other documentary confronts the visitor with the human side of the battle through interviews with Australian and US Coral Sea veterans, both moving and entertaining.
Women’s War 2
The Women's War 2 exhibition , consisting of display panels and display cases arranged around a mock-up of a typical North Queensland living-room during the war, complete with a piano (owned by the Breen family during the war) and blackout curtains. This exhibition tells some of the stories about life in Townsville during the years 1939-1945 from a young woman's perspective. The twelve participating ladies whose experiences are showcased had all worked in different local industries in the defence of the country, many of them associated with maritime industries.
Temporary exhibitions: Navigating the Queensland coast
It’s easy on land.
Maps, roads, signposts, towns, rivers, bridges, mountains, scenery.
But on the ocean “your only companion is an endless procession of waves.”
Navigation at sea is how you work out where you are and where you want to go to at sea.
This exhibition will walk you through the art of calculating Latitude and Longitude. It also displays some historic methods of calculating boat speed, distance travelled, boat location and depth below the keel.
Electronic devices started to modernise marine navigation. On display are some early examples of equipment – how clunky they look. Actually, your mobile phone can do much more than they do.
We celebrate the early Navigators who, by using traditional methods, mapped this part of the Queensland Coast. Read about their exploits.
And if you feel lost after looking through the display – just return to the Exhibition entrance – and find out where you are!
The information presented in this exhibition is for display purposes only. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should this information be used for actual navigation at sea.