In the 200th anniversary year of Charles Darwin's birth and 150 years after the publication of his famous evolutionary theory On the Origin of Species join Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle on the voyage of a lifetime. Explore the world of Darwin and his colleagues and see how their work continues on new scientific frontiers.The exhibition runs from 20th March to 23rd August 2009.
At the age of 22 Charles Darwin seemed destined to become a clergyman when in 1831 he was given an opportunity to sail to South America on the small survey vessel HMS Beagle. The five year voyage exposed the young Darwin to the stunning nature of the world, triggering ideas that would come to explain the origin of life on earth and shake society to its core. The Beagle voyage proved the seminal event in Charles Darwin's career, setting him on a path to become the most famous naturalist of the modern era.
Darwin's account of the Beagle voyage inspired other naturalists to join survey expeditions exploring the world. Two of these, Joseph Hooker and Thomas Huxley were influenced by their experiences in Australia and went on to become Darwin's staunchest supporters during the evolution debate and pivotal figures in the world of 19th century science.
HMS Beagle arrived in Australia with Charles Darwin aboard on 12th January 1836, but has a whole other Australian life unconnected to Charles Darwin. Beagle returned to Australia on her third voyage to survey the west coast, leaving Woolwich in June 1837 and left Australian waters on 6 May 1843, arriving back in England on 30 September that year.