The History 

A library has been part of the Museum since its formation in 1986.

Its main role is to support the fully-catalogued collection policy of the Museum and to provide research and reference material for the Museum and for members of the public involved in research into maritime heritage.

The library comprises over 2,500 books and some 50 journal or magazine titles.

In 1995 the Museum obtained a grant from the Sidney Myer Foundation to fund the installation of a computer system with cataloguing software and the purchase of books.

The library continues to receive donations of books, and when funding allows we buy titles to fill gaps in the collection.


The Collection

Our main interests are:

  • Lifeboats
  • Lighthouses
  • Fishing, fishing craft and fishermen
  • Wrecks, strandings and associated activities
  • Rescue and salvage
  • Diving and preservation of maritime objects
  • The Rip, Queenscliff/Point Lonsdale and Port Phillip
  • Early maritime history of Victoria
  • Navigation and navigation equipment
  • Immigration and emigration
  • Models and model building of ships and related maritime artefacts

The library is a research facility and books are generally not loaned to members of the public. However, books may be borrowed for a maximum of one month by members of the Committee of Management and others approved by the Librarian or the Administration Officer. Contact us with your loan request.



Requests for Information / Research Service

The library offers a research service for maritime enquiries, especially for details of ships and shipping arriving in Victoria in the 19th and early 20th century, and Victorian shipwrecks. Our database enables us to search the availability of ship illustrations, both sail and steam.

All requests must be received on the Research Request Form, a standard fee applies to each research topic to cover the time taken to search our collection and databases, a limited amount of photocopying or scanning of material plus postage/email of our response. We aim to respond to requests within 2 weeks.

We cannot guarantee success in finding the answers you seek, however an apparently unsuccessful search will eliminate some sources of information.

Genealogical searches, should be addressed to genealogical societies or public records offices.