A shell arm band made by south-sea islanders being held by hands wearing white gloves

Connections across the Coral Sea

This exhibition has closed

Recommended for all ages

Queensland Museum Kurilpa, Level 2




This exhibition has closed

Discover a time where humankind knew no borders. A place where objects and ideas were shared harmoniously across cultures. Travel across the iconic Coral Sea and explore the rich relationships of ancient First Nations communities – their trade, customs and connections.

Connections across the Coral Sea reveals the latest archaeological research around the earliest movements and trade between the seafaring cultures of Papua New Guinea, Torres Strait and the northeast coast of Queensland.

Experience the language, stories and the spiritual connections of voyagers long ago. See real artefacts that endure the customs and talent of the ancient Pacific artisans that created them. Come full circle as you step into the modern day and learn about research and technology used to piece together the puzzle of a thriving cultural movement that existed since time immemorial.

A story of movement. A story of life. A story to be told.

Collaborating with First Nations communities to share their stories

View objects from the exhibition online

Take a closer look at objects and archaeological specimens on display in Connections across the Coral Sea.

Explore now

Visiting Connections across the Coral Sea as a school

Connections across the Coral Sea highlights the rich relationships of First Nations communities through contacts, trade and shared customs, such as technology, language, stories and spirituality.

Teachers and students can gain insight into Australian Archaeology and ancient evidence of movement among First Nations peoples.

Discover stories and objects from the seafaring cultures of southern New Guinea, the Torres Strait and northeast coast of Queensland.

  • People and place – identities, stories, language, culture, movement, interaction
  • Everyday life – trade and exchange, transportation, personal effects, diet, tools
  • Art and design – design (decorative/functional elements), materials, changes and influences
  • Beliefs – symbols, customs, ritual, ceremony, spiritual connection
  • Connecting with the past – archaeology, science, technology, research.

Students can explore the earliest movements and international trade between the First Nations of Papua New Guinea, Torres Strait and northern Queensland, and learn how their sea voyages took place as well as the spiritual connection to the incredible canoes, integral to the seafaring way of life.

This exhibition also reveals the modern research and technologies used to investigate Australia’s ancient past. Step inside a life-sized, replica archaeological excavation trench to find evidence of the activity of First Nations people that lived over 6,500 years ago.

Supporting teachers and learners

Resources can be downloaded for Primary and Secondary students and their teachers. When planning your visit, extra information for visiting schools and groups will guide you through your options and the booking process.

Teacher Notes include an introduction to the exhibition, links to other supporting information and extensive Australian Curriculum connections.

Skills sub-strands at all year levels can be supported when visiting a museum. An exhibition experience can be used to critique, inform, inspire and provide several examples of:

  • Primary and secondary sources of information (collections, research, exhibitions and associated material)
  • Identifying chronological terms and concepts
  • Engaging multiple literacies to express content, context, perspectives and arguments that propose and/or explain historical inquiry
  • Critique changes in cultural heritage sector regarding ownership of cultural material.

Student Explorer workbooks and/or a Guided Introduction can be integrated to your visit experience.

Exhibition Introduction: Connections across the Coral Sea

Availability: Term 4, 2022
Audience: Years 4-12
Curriculum: HASS | History | Science | Design and Technologies | Visual Arts
Duration: Allow 45 minutes per session (includes self-led student exploration time).
Free. Bookings essential.

Students can prepare for their exploration of Connections across the Coral Sea with guidance from Museum Learning staff. Share insights into some key objects, exhibition themes and prompts to start the inquiry process.

Groups may use the downloadable Student Explorer workbooks (below) to extend their visits experience.


Teacher Notes

Student Explorer workbooks

Primary Years workbook
Secondary Years workbook

Exhibition Map (available soon)

Identifying zones, Cartography, Seafaring, Archaeology, Cultural Exchange and virtual archaeological dig.

Free visit for teachers

We invite teachers, early years educators and group supervisors to preview the museum prior to your visit to plan and prepare for your group’s learning experiences. As some exhibitions are ticketed, entry fees apply for family members and accompanying guests. Book online now to arrange your free entry.

Book now

Virtual tour

Explore Connections across the Coral Sea from anywhere in the world with our virtual tour. Navigate around the exhibition to uncover stories, objects, videos and more.

Connections across the Coral Sea is a Queensland Museum exhibition produced in partnership with ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) and in collaboration with Queensland Museum Network’s Project DIG. The exhibition is also supported by James Cook University and Monash University. The research presented was undertaken in partnership with the Walmbaar Aboriginal Corporation and Hope Vale Congress Aboriginal Corporation.

  •  ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) logo

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