Pandora Gallery

HMS Pandora was the British Royal Navy warship dispatched to the South Pacific in pursuit of the infamous Bounty mutineers. Today, the mutiny on the Bounty remains one of the best-known stories in the history of seafaring.


Few, however, are aware of the epic story of the Pandora. Few know of the extraordinary efforts of the Royal Navy to recover the “pirated” Bounty, and bring the mutineers to justice. Few appreciate the archaeological significance of the Pandora wreck.

Pandora was on her return voyage from Tahiti when the ship struck the Great Barrier Reef.  Although the crew tried desperately to save her, she sank 120 kilometres east of Cape York in the early hours of 29 August 1791.

In her day, HMS Pandora was a prized and proud member of the Royal Navy. Today the Pandora is one of the most significant shipwrecks in the Southern Hemisphere. The Queensland Museum has been excavating the wreck and piecing together the Pandora puzzle since 1983.

The Pandora Gallery is the mainstay exhibition at the Museum of Tropical Queensland.  Visitors will be captivated by the story of the ill-fated Pandora and should allow at least an hour to enjoy this intriguing exhibition.



WHEN: 12pm on Tuesday 29 August 2017

WHERE: MTQ Theatre 


To commemorate the 226th anniversary of the sinking of the Pandora, we're presenting a special talk by Peter Illidge (Project Manager, Maritime Cultural Heritage at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) and Alison Mann (Assistant Collections Manager – Cultures & Histories Program at the Museum of Tropical Queensland).

Peter and Alison took part in several Pandora expeditions in the late 1990s. Peter will talk about his first-hand experiences excavating the shipwreck and Alison will talk about her work managing the objects that were retrieved and are now part of the Queensland Museum collection at MTQ.