Heritage of Helmets

The Heritage of Helmets exhibition features historic diving helmets and associated equipment used for salvage, pearl shelling, marine science and war. 

The majority of the exhibition is from the Langley Collection. This collection was built up over a 30-year period by former abalone diver Greg Langley of Hobart and was donated to Queensland Museum in November 2007 through the Commonwealth’s Cultural Gifts Program, with further objects donated in June 2008. 

This exhibition includes collection items never before seen on display as well as objects that are not part of the original Langley Collection.

Things to see:

  • Get an insight into the history of Standard Dress Diving and how this invention revolutionised the industry, making the underwater worker an essential part of salvage, industry and civil engineering from the late 1830s.
  • Learn how the diving helmet worked and the risks people during that time took when wearing them.
  • Discover how two British submarine engineering companies, Siebe Gorman and Heinke dominated the world's diving equipment business for decades.
  • View the second oldest 'closed' standard dress diving helmet known to exist from c1840 created by Augustus Siebe.
  • Learn how vital air was supplied to the hard hat divers by the low pressure rotary air pump, and see the display of an original pump and the box it was housed in.

The Heritage of Helmets display is located inside the Pandora Gallery on Level 1.