Exposition permanenteMusée MaritimeThe golden age of sea travel

A fine new model has joined the Museum's collection, that of the John Pirie, a topsail schooner built in Scotland in 1827. She reached Australia in 1836, and started trading in sandalwood. She called at New Caledonia in 1847 before sailing away with her load of sandalwood.

We thank Mr Jacques Laville, who built this model at a scale of 1/12 and donated it to the Museum.


La Monique was a local coastal vessel carrying passengers and goods to and from the Loyalty Islands. She vanished without a trace between Maré Island and Noumea in 1953.

The life-ring in the Museum is the only object ever found. With the loss of 108 passengers and 18 crew members, this is the worst maritime disaster to occur in New Caledonia.


The Seine was a French Navy corvette which was wrecked on the reef off Pouebo (East coast, Main Island) in 1846. At a time of political tension between France and Great Britain, seven years before France took official possession of New Caledonia, her captain had been entrusted with a secret mission.

The fine double steering wheel was recovered from the wreck, and its timber parts were reconstructed by the wood-working workshop of Pedro Attiti High School (Noumea) in 2009.

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This bust was created from the skull of a sketeton found in the wreck of the Boussole in 2003…One day, the DNA will reveal the identity of the unknown man from Vanikoro….


At the time, the rudder of the Roanoke was the largest wooden ship's rudder in the world. It is 14 m tall, 1 m wide, and weighs 3 tonnes. It is one of the few items retrieved from the wreck by "Association Fortunes de Mer Calédoniennes". The Roanoke was an ore-carrier; she caught fire and sank in 1905 at Kouakoué (East coast of the Main Island). The six iron pintles and some of the lead numbers indicating draft aft are still in place.