Celebrating 50 years of the Bass Strait Maritime Centre

The Bass Strait Maritime Centre marks its 50-year anniversary with a special exhibition.


24 July 2023

Premier Jeremy Rockliff, and Devonport Mayor Alison Jarman recently joined more than 50 volunteers, councillors, former mayors and local maritime identities to celebrate the official opening of the exhibition.

The event was held in what was the original Harbour Master’s residence in Devonport, now one of the most highly visited attractions in North-West Tasmania.

With its beginning founded by Dame Enid Lyons, and once visited by King Charles (then Prince), the current Centre is now owned by the Devonport City Council.

To mark the 50-year journey, Bass Strait Maritime Centre’s Coordinator, Joanne Gair, chose 50 objects for a curatorial catalogue.

Invitations were sent to 50 Tasmanians with maritime links to north-west Tasmania to choose a curated object and provide information on why they were drawn to it.

TasPorts Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Casey selected a framed watercolour and pen drawing of the steamship Orion, by T K McKendrick.

“It was chosen before my time, but as history has a persistence, and as President of the Orions Cricket Club, it seemed like the right choice,” Mr Casey said.

The SS Orion was built in 1900 by Harry Wood for William Holyman Snr, and with a keel of 31 metres in length, the vessel was one of the largest wooden steamships built in Tasmania.

The SS Orion sank in 1908, with all hands lost. The ship has never been found.

”The SS Orion is a notorious shipwreck for the Port of Devonport, reminding us of the importance of maritime safety, and the ongoing need to focus on continuous improvement and risk reduction,” noted Mr Casey in his submission.

“The Devonport Orions Cricket Club, based near the mouth of the Mersey River, is named after this shipwreck.”

To celebrate its 50-year legacy, the Bass Strait Maritime Centre provides visitors with a journey through time, discovering the rich tapestry of the past half-century that has shaped Devonport’s identity.

The exhibition is open to the public from 10 am to 3 pm daily until 25 February 2024.

Image credit: Bass Strait Maritime Centre