Queenscliffe Maritime Museum

Discover a treasure trove of maritime history, shipwreck relics, boatbuilding equipment and fascinating tidal displays at this museum on the Queenscliff Harbour.

Originally established 1986 to house Queenscliff’s last lifeboat, the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum has since expanded and now holds a fascinating collection of displays detailing the area’s maritime heritage. Uncover the exciting seafaring history of Queenscliff and Southern Port Phillip with informative displays and genuine artefacts from fishing, diving and boating industries since the late 19th century.

Wander through the museum’s main exhibits to find out how Queenscliff’s maritime industries have changed over the decades. You’ll see the famous Queenscliff Lifeboat, as well as exhibitions dedicated to the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, the steamer trades, lighthouses and boat builders.

See early photographs of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale on old postcards and discover a collection of relics from nearby shipwrecks. Check out the dive display, which showcases early scuba equipment, a divers suit and an air-compressor helmet. A fascinating “hydrographic” model of the Rip explains the hazardous entrance to Port Phillip between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean, showing underwater contours and currents. You can see artefacts from nearby lighthouses, such as flashers and lamp globes.

Don’t miss the restored Fishermen’s Cottage, as well as the history of the region’s Chinese fishers. In the Boat Shed, check out the boatbuilding history of Queenscliff and look at couta boats, boatbuilding tools, machinery and early marine motors. Stroll along the Old Fisherman’s Pier to the heritage-listed Fishermen’s Waiting Room. Within this building, you can see a collection of maritime-themed paintings from the early 20th century by Henry Zanoni.

The museum’s gift shop is sure to delight any maritime enthusiast, with an extensive collection of nautical history books and maritime publications, models of ships and lighthouses, postcards, posters and tide clocks.

The Queenscliffe Maritime Museum is located on the Queenscliff foreshore, a short stroll from the Searoad Ferry Terminal. There is an admission fee to visit the museum. Parking is available on-site. The museum is open daily, with annual closures on Christmas Day and Good Friday. Visit the museum on a Sunday morning to join a tour of the heritage Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, available for a fee. Ask staff at the museum for details on who can take the tour.