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.


Bidhiinja Exhibition is now open at the VIC


Oyster reefs were once a dominant part of our coastal seascape. Globally, it is estimated that 85% of shellfish reefs have been lost – more than any other type of marine habitat. Now they are making a comeback, thanks to reef restoration efforts.


Bidhiinja: restoring our oyster reefs, on now at Port Stephens Visitor Information Centre, tells the forgotten history of oyster reefs in New South Wales and the work underway to restore these important ecosystems. It invites audiences to learn about the past, present and future of oyster reefs in Australia and the benefits that they provide to communities and the environment. Augmented reality (AR) allows you to bring an oyster reef to life across the exhibition, and interactives invite you to see what can be found in a midden, turn the wheel to see what a healthy ecosystem looks like, or open the door to explore the art and design of oyster shell.

See the future of our healthy Australian coasts in this beautiful exhibition combining First Nations knowledge, western science, and design, including illustrations by exhibition artist and Yaegl woman Frances Belle Parker.


Bidhiinja is presented by the Australian National Maritime Museum in collaboration with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) NSW Oyster Reef Restoration Project. It will tour NSW regional venues from 2024-2025.  This exciting collaboration is proudly funded by the NSW Government through the Marine Estate Management Strategy, which aims to deliver a healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest wellbeing of the community, now and into the future.

Bidhiinja: restoring our oyster reefs is on display at Port Stephens Visitor Information Centre (VIC) until the 3rd March 2024.

Sponsored by the Tomaree Museum Association; entry to the exhibition is free.

Port Stephens Visitor Information Centre is at 60 Victoria Parade Nelson Bay.


Fundraising Sausage Sizzle

Date:   TBA
Time:  9am to 4pm
Place: Bunnings Taylors Beach,
            Cnr Port Stephens Drive & Taylors Beach Road. Taylors Beach.

Thank you for supporting our fund-raising efforts at the Bunnings BBQs.

We use only the tastiest & finest grade Aldi sausages skilfully barbecued 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.


Permanent Exhibition

Date:  Everyday
Time: 10am to 4pm
Place: Inner Light, 5 Lighthouse Road, Nelson Bay

Why not visit our display at the Inner Light?

Developed by the Port Stephens Historical Society, the display provides a snapshot into our local history at a beautiful location.

Be sure to set aside some time to savour some treats in the Inner Light Tea Rooms! 

A new pop-up exhibition is in development. 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.