The Tomaree Museum Association

Join us in building a Museum & Cultural Centre for Port Stephens
The Tomaree Museum Association will build a permanent and publicly owned Museum and Cultural Centre on the Port Stephens Tomaree Peninsula. 

We will build a Museum and exhibition space to highlight the Associations’ growing collection & research and provide exhibition space for other historical, ecological and creative associations in the area.  This website is our virtual museum.

On this site you will find articles, videos and audio, our blog and information about upcoming events and membership.


We want to build a multi-faceted Museum for the many historical, cultural and ecological organisations in the area to exhibit alongside our own.

Exhibitions that will enlighten and surprise visitors and locals in an eventual permanent Museum as well as here on our website. Can we let you in on a little secret? We have a lot of fun!

If you’re curious about the unique history and ecology of Port Stephens and want to research, learn and share that information and fun with us – then we hope you’ll press the `Join Us’ button below and sign up for a Tomaree Museum membership.


Thank you for attending our August Exhibition


Focus on lighthouses of the Tomaree Peninsular.

The Tomaree Museum Association (TMA) held an exhibition showcasing the Lighthouses of Port Stephens on August 1-31.

The exhibition builds on the TMA’s very successful ANZAC Exhibition in April and May at the Nelson Bay Visitor Information Centre.

Before the Outer Lighthouse was built in 1862 at Point Stephens 24 ships were wrecked, many mistakenly trying to enter False Bay (Fingal Bay) rather than Port Stephens heads.

The exhibition highlighted the important roles these lighthouses and their keepers played in providing navigation safety and support for the burgeoning sea trade along the coast between Broken Bay and Seal Rocks.

The Inner Lighthouse, established in 1872, guided ships once inside the Port. The octagonal lantern room situated in the heritage listed cottage at Marine Rescue NSW on Nelson Head can be viewed today.



John Clarke, TMA’s resident historian, provided talks to various community groups on August 8, 15 and 22 at the Visitor Information Centre, Nelson Bay.

The exhibition proved to be very popular with locals and visitors to the district and is part of our busy 2023 program.

The TMA is also grateful to those Association members who assisted in the development of the materials and provided the much-needed muscle for the bump in and bump out.



Fundraising Sausage Sizzle

Date: Sunday 15th of October 2023
Time: 9am to 4pm
Place: Bunnings, Cnr Port Stephens Drive & Taylors Beach Road. Taylors Beach.

Our next Fundraising Sausage Sizzle is on this 15th of October and we hope you can drop in for a tasty breakfast/snack/lunch.

We use only the tastiest & finest grade Aldi sausages skilfully barbecue’d by experienced sausage chefs and artfully placed onto the softest white bread with your choice of caramelised onions and/or barbecue, tomato and mustard sauce to make your perfect sausage sanga.

You can then wash it down with a Coke classic or Coke no sugar, Sunkist or Solo beverage and chat with TMA members about the Museum Project.


Next Exhibition

Date: 1 to 30 November 2023.
Time: To be advised
Place: Nelson Bay Visitors Information Centre, Victoria Parade, Nelson Bay.

Our next exhibition will focus on the history and contribution of ferries to the district. Stay tuned for more details!

Newsletter – July 2023


Our current newsletter is available to download by clicking the button below. 


Landing at Little Beach

Landing at Little Beach

Our fundraising Sausage Sizzles at Bunnings are a great way to keep in contact with our community.
Here are some donated images of Troop landing exercises in Port Stephens in the 1960’s.

Way back when – but now…

Way back when – but now…

Coming out of lockdown we thought it might be nice to see some images of every day life in Nelson Bay from the Arthur Renforth Collection in the TMA's library of images - then and now. If these images trigger any memories with you, we hope you will share them with us...

Our opening `Open Day’

Our opening `Open Day’

We can only say that our first open day this past Sunday at the Bobs Farm Hall was a great success – and it was pouring rain so that’s no mean feat.


Port Stephens was going to be a Navy Base?

Around 1910 to 1913, a huge 1190 hectare Submarine Navy Base as part of the Commonwealth’s long term defence strategy was proposed for Port Stephens and work commenced in 1916.

The area included was Salamander Bay from Corlette Point (where the Anchorage Resort is now), the entire Soldiers Point Peninsula and down past Cromarty Bay almost to Taylors Beach. The Commonwealth had gazetted the entirety of the Mambo Wetlands and past where the Salamander Shopping Centre is now located.

Work began in 1916 with 250 unemployed miners from Newcastle used to blast rock from the base of Wanda Wanda Head (and anecdotally destroying Aboriginal Artwork in caves there). Surveyors were hard at work and drainage ditches and roads were constructed as well as a wharf to berth Australia’s then two RAN Submarines.

After the finish of the first World War and the loss of our only 2 submarines, work on the base slowed and stopped completely in 1922. The Naval Base land was sold by the Commonwealth to the Port Stephens Shire Council for a bargain £50,000 or about $1.6 million in todays money.

Source: Mike Scanlon, Port Stephens Examiner


Original Museum Artefacts Collection

Members of the Tomaree Museum Association catalogue and collect historical artefacts that have been held in storage by the Carroll Family for 45 years.


Listen to our Podcast `Excavations’.

Keep an ear out for our Podcast about matters related to the history, geology, wildlife, culture and related issues of Port Stephens titled ` Tomaree Museum; Excavations’.


Ray Alley photo collection donated to museum

Ray Alley photo collection donated to museum

Charlie Elias
​Port Stephens Examiner,
13th August 2020.

“Nearly 50 years of work from one of the Port’s most prolific photographers will go on display at the Tomaree Museum Association (TMA) to be preserved for future generations.”

read more


We invite the community to contribute stories of about 200 words on any topic connected to the Port Stephens region including people, places, buildings, or events.

JOIN in the FUN!

Are you interested in joining the Tomaree Museum Association?

The TMA is a young community driven organisation with the goal of building a permanent Museum on the Port Stephens Peninsula for ALL of Port Stephens and everyone interested in the area.

We want to collect, learn and share the knowledge of the many facets of our area – it’s ecology and history, and the many paths our investigations lead us down.  It’s a detective story we’d love you to join us in.