Australian Museum (AM) opens major new exhibition Trailblazers, showcasing the nation's leading explorers and adventurers.

Thursday 26 November, 2015, Sydney Australia: Twenty one of Australia’s greatest living explorers and 29 historic figures have been honoured in Trailblazers: Australia’s 50 greatest explorers, an exhibition that celebrates the spirit and bravery of Australia’s outstanding pioneers.

Presented in partnership with Adventure World, and supported by the Destination NSW, Trailblazers opens to the public on Saturday 28 November 2015.

“This exhibition is more than a list of explorers and achievements, it’s about the Australian spirit of adventure and the people who have shaped it,” Kim McKay AO, Executive Director and CEO of the Australian Museum said.

Trailblazers will inspire visitors of all ages to dig deep and discover the explorer within, and unleash the curiosity that is central to the Australian Museum’s DNA.”

Today, the final 30 explorers were revealed, capping off the list of 50, along with 14 ‘more greats’ who could have just as easily made the list. Among the final 50 are navigator Mathew Flinders, pilot Gaby Kennard OAM, solo-sailors Jessica Watson OAM and Kay Cottee AO and mammologist and environmentalist Tim Flannery.

Trailblazers showcases more than 360 significant objects from the AM’s collection, and from the personal collection of explorers, as well as from other museums. Highlights include Sir Douglas Mawson’s ice axe, the cape collected by Captain Cook on his final voyage, the gondola from Dick Smith’s history-making hot air balloon flight across Australia and astronaut Andy Thomas’ space suit.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to indulge their inner explorer through interactive exhibits including a climbing wall, or download the Trailblazers App for kids to go on a scavenger hunt through the history of Australian adventure.

Trailblazers is McKay’s first exhibition since joining the AM as Director, and was developed with guest curator Howard Whelan, founding editor of Australian Geographic and a well known adventurer in his own right.

“Today’s adventurers push the boundaries, keeping alive our ability to take responsible risks, to face danger, to evolve,” Whelan said.

“These are crucial attributes as we push on to other planets. If you look to the skies at night or the deep oceans, you’ll discover an incomprehensible amount left to explore.”

Visitors will be able to vote for their favourite explorer, and go in the draw to win a $20,000 travel voucher from Adventure World, to create their own adventure.

“A visit to Trailblazers could be life-changing, as you experience the spirit and daring of Australia’s greatest adventurers and take inspiration from their extraordinary feats,” McKay said.

Designed by the AM’s in-house team, the exhibitions development has been led by Project Coordinator Fran Dorey.

Dates: from 28 November 2015 Tickets:;
Prices: $23 adult, $5 children, $50 family (2 adults and 2 kids). Includes general admission

About Trailblazers: Australia’s 50 greatest explorers

Created by the Australian Museum and curated by Antarctic adventurer and author Howard Whelan, Trailblazers: Australia’s 50 greatest explorers brings together 29 historic and 21 modern adventurers and explorers, including nine women. Presented by Adventure World, strategic partner Destination NSW, supported by Australian Geographic, Daily Telegraph, National Geographic Channel, JC Decaux, 303Lowe and Pullman Hyde Park Sydney. In 2016, Australian Geographic will present a series of talks at the Australian Museum, featuring many of the modern explorers.

About the Australian Museum (AM)

The AM, founded in 1827 is the nation’s first museum, and is an internationally recognised natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. As custodian of more than 18 million objects, the AM is uniquely positioned to provide a greater understanding of the region through its scientific research, exhibitions and public and education programs. Through the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), the AM also has a leading role in conserving Australia’s biodiversity through understanding the environmental impacts of climate change, potential biosecurity threats and invasive species.