More than 7,000 items belonging to the Newcastle Maritime Museum will be relocated to the Thales Ship Maintenance facility at Carrington later this week.
The collection has for more than a decade been exhibited at the former Maritime Museum site at Honeysuckle and stored at the former BHP-owned QC Lab in Mayfield.
The relocation of the collection to a secure storage site will allow for preliminary curation work before a new permanent exhibition re-emerges at Newcastle Museum next year.
Maritime Museum volunteers will help with the move later this week just as they did earlier this year when the museum closed and exhibits were moved across the road.
The relocation has been generously funded by Hunter Development Corporation (HDC), which owns the harbour-side building vacated by the Newcastle Maritime Museum.
"The City of Newcastle will work with the Maritime Museum’s volunteers to audit the entire collection and carry out any necessary repairs and maintenance work," City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said.
“Relocating items that range from delicate paintings up to 200 years old to boats, one 12 metres long and six tonnes in weight, is a massive undertaking that requires considerable care and expertise, and to be frank, is extremely expensive.
"HDC has agreed to cover the cost of this project with Thales providing a secure building to store the collection for the next two years. Both organisations deserve special thanks for their support and patience as City of Newcastle works with the Board of the Maritime Museum Society following its decision to close its doors in June."
Larger, fabled items from the collection like Australia 2, the famous America's Cup yacht, will be moved to Carrington.
HDC Chief Executive Michael Cassel said the Honeysuckle site would undergo important maintenance works once the artefacts had been moved.
“Safely relocating the collection to the Thales site at Carrington is our current focus, however once that is complete we will be undertaking maintenance works on the building to ensure ongoing preservation of the heritage property at Lee Wharf at Honeysuckle,” Mr Cassel said.
“HDC has a longstanding commitment to restoring and enhancing true heritage buildings for the community to enjoy, and this building absolutely falls into that category."
Maritime Museum President Ian Jones thanked all stakeholders for helping preserve the Maritime Museum's artefacts for future generations.
"On behalf of the Newcastle Maritime Museum Society, we are grateful to Thales for agreeing to store the collection given the unsuitability of the current storage facility at Mayfield.
"I'd also like to thank HDC for funding the cost of the relocation and for their considerable support over the past decade."
Thales Group Project Manager Greg Gocher said the global maritime organisation was proud to support the local shipping industry.
"Thales has a long history of maritime activity not only in Newcastle but around the globe, so it would be tragic to see strong Newcastle Maritime history, such as that within the Museum, forgotten," he said.
"Thales is also committed to establishing long-term relationships across Newcastle and the Hunter in support of continued growth across all community and industry-related activity."
A collection of model boats and a significant shipwreck artefact from the Susan Gilmore have been on exhibition at Newcastle Museum since the closure of the Maritime Museum earlier this year.
“Newcastle Museum has been working with the former Newcastle Maritime Museum volunteers and during these school holidays they will be demonstrating some maritime skills to visitors,” Museum Director Julie Baird said.
“This significant collection is an important element in the story of Newcastle and I am so relieved to know it will remain safe and secure for future local generations to experience.”