Collections

The SA Maritime Museum preserves the oldest nautical collection in Australia. In 1872 the Port Adelaide Institute began a museum collection to complement its library and its educational and social programs. That collection grew over the following century reflecting the seafarers and the ships that visited Port Adelaide. It is now held in trust at the SA Maritime Museum.

The Maritime Museum’s collection ranges from the Port Adelaide Lighthouse that was first lit in 1869 to a plaque that explorer Matthew Flinders left at Memory Cove in 1802 to mark the loss to eight seafarers. It includes figureheads, nautical instruments, bathing costumes, shipwreck artefacts, paintings, models and vessels.

Our scope is the maritime heritage of South Australia from the coast to inland waters. The collection of over almost 20,000 objects and over 20,000 images is at once a window to the heritage of the local community and to the ships of the world..

Member of Pamir crew (W. King) indulging in a pipe at Port Victoria

Photograph depicting Walter King, crew on the Pamir during the last great grain race in 1949.

In 1949 the windjammers Pamir and Passat competed to be the fastest ship to carry grain from South Australia to England in what was hailed as the last Great Grain Race. They were the last commercial sailing ships to ply one of the world's longest trade routes.  The ships departed South Australia's Port Victoria on 28 May 1949 loaded with over 50,000 bags of grain for Europe. The voyage was highly publicised and newspapers and magazines documented the crew and the voyage.  Passat won the race but crowds greeted both ships in England with great enthusiasm. The captains and the ships' owner Edgar Erikson, who had joined the Pamir in Falmouth, responded generously to the demands of the media and public. They allowed access to the ships, gave interviews and attended social events.

Creator unknown

Associated locations: Port Victoria, Cape Horn, South Australia, Falmouth