Secure the future of Queensland Maritime Museum

Secure the future of Queensland Maritime Museum

17,491 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!
Petition to
Queensland Government and

Why this petition matters


2021 will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Queensland Maritime Museum (QMM).

We need your help to ensure the Museum’s mission is successful so as to preserve the collection for years to come.

We believe the future of the Queensland Maritime Museum lies in becoming a campus of the Queensland Museum Network.

We are asking for community support as we appeal to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Queensland Government to take this action. 


In 1971, QMM’s founders had the great vision to conserve artefacts from Queensland’s maritime history.

At the time, Queensland Museum had no plans to build a maritime museum, so it was thanks to our founders’ determination - and the passion of thousands of volunteers since - that made it happen. 

The Museum survived both the 1974 and 2011 floods, both of which saw the Brisbane River inundate the historic South Brisbane Dry Dock. 

But it’s the impact of COVID-19 that could really sink QMM.


QMM was grateful to receive $600,000 in funding from the Queensland Government across 2017, 2018, and 2019. During this time, improvements were made to QMM’s entire site, and work was done to upgrade outdated management systems. QMM was also successful in securing a number of federal, state, and local government grants to help with essential projects.

But that funding finished just as COVID-19 forced QMM to close, leaving the Museum with zero income from its main source - visitor entrance fees.

QMM was able to work with Queensland Health to have a site-specific COVID Safe Plan approved and QMM re-opened on weekends in September.

New operations governed by QMM’s COVID Safe Plan required QMM to recruit at least 40 new volunteers to staff the site solely on weekends, as volunteers 70 years old and over were not allowed onsite at the same time as the general public because they are deemed vulnerable according to the Queensland Government’s health directives.

Low visitor numbers through September and October were only 30 per cent of pre-COVID levels, and the added cost of extra cleaning meant it was financially unviable for QMM to stay open. 

QMM’s Board made the difficult decision to close the Museum in November and December 2020 to try and navigate a way forward.


No other maritime organisation the size of QMM exists without ongoing operational funding from government.

The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney is federally funded. The West Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle is part of WA’s state-funded museum network. The South Australian Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide is state-funded.

QMM is home to a range of priceless historic artefacts, including:

  • River-class frigate HMAS Diamantina, built in Maryborough for duty in WW2. Two Japanese surrenders were signed on the ship’s quarterdeck. The ship later served as an oceanographic survey vessel
  • ST Forceful, Queensland’s last remaining steam tug, with rare surviving examples of coal-fired boilers and a triple-expansion engine saw service in WW2, helped our allies in times of need and earned battle honours, turns 100 soon! 
  • The pearl lugger, Penguin, which was part of the pearling industry in the Torres Strait in the first half of the 20th century, and finished as a supply and service vessel for Torres Strait Islanders in the 1970s
  • Ella’s Pink Lady, the yacht sailed by Queenslander Jessica Watson during her record-breaking solo around-the-world trip in 2010
  • A comprehensive collection of maritime artefacts and art works
  • The largest collection of lighthouse artefacts in Australia

We believe QMM’s significant collection deserves the protection and conservation expertise of a world-class institution like Queensland Museum.

QMM currently has only two paid staff members. Our members and volunteers are wonderful, and give their time (35,000 hours on site annually) and expertise freely and with great affection for the Museum; however, we cannot escape the fact that the volunteer base is ageing and new volunteers do not come from the maritime industry.

It is simply not sustainable for QMM to continue to exist solely on the availability and capability of volunteers.

It is also not fair to those volunteers, and the 40,000 visitors each year, that the Museum be left to flounder after volunteers have devoted 49 years of hard work to preserve QMM’s collection.

Queensland Maritime Museum (QMM) needs ongoing operational funding and significant investment to survive, and the expertise and innovation of Queensland Museum Network would ensure it became the world class asset the people of Brisbane and Queensland deserve.


The Queensland Museum Act 1970 allows for the provision of new branches to be created by the QMN board (Point 18, Page 15). 

We know the idea also has the support of Brisbane City Council.  A Sunday Mail article by Michelle Collins, published on 14 November 2020, stated: “Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said council had financially supported the museum for 10 years and he would like to see it become part of the Queensland Museum.” 


We urge our supporters and lovers of maritime history, science, art, and tourism to SIGN this petition TODAY to secure the future of Queensland Maritime Museum.

Thank you for your support.

Queensland Maritime Museum (QMM) is a not for profit company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Recognised for the role the museum plays in education, QMM is a Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) that is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). QMM is also a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC).

17,491 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!