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..

Telescope from the ship Africaine

Telescope inscribed 'John Finlay Duff LONDON, Africaine'.

Captain John Finlay Duff was captain of the Africaine, one of the first nine ships to bring migrants to South Australia in 1836. The telescope was given to Mary Draper by her grandfather Stuart Duncan Duff (captain Duff's youngest child) in 1940. Captain Duff was recognised by his peers as a highly competent sailor and navigator who handled the often trying conditions of the Africaine's long voyage to South Australia with skill, good sense and generally sound judgement. A telescope was an essential crucial for surveying coasts and seas, identifying landmarks and passing vessels. It was an essential navigational instrument along with a sextant, compass and chronometer.

Caption: Telescope , John Finaly Duff

AccessionNo: HT2000735(m)

Material: Glass, brass, leather

Date Created: c1836

Physical Description:
Telescope inscribed 'John Finlay Duff LONDON, "Africaine"'. Captain John Finlay Duff's telescope was given to Mary Draper by her grandfather Stuart Duncan Duff (captain Duff's youngest child) in 1940. Mary held on to the telescope until after a visit to the South Australian Maritime Museum. She felt the Museum would offer 'a home for it where it would be welcome'.

Provenance:
Telescope inscribed 'John Finlay Duff LONDON, "Africaine"'. Captain John Finlay Duff's telescope was given to Mary Draper by her grandfather Stuart Duncan Duff (captain Duff's youngest child) in 1940. Mary held on to the telescope until after a visit to the South Australian Maritime Museum. She felt the Museum would offer 'a home for it where it would be welcome'.