Precious photos, letters from loved ones and other special keepsakes - where would a sailor used to keep these when away at sea? - Safely stowed away in their 'ditty boxes'!
The word ’ditty box’ is actually short for commodity box, they were originally used to store a sailor’s toilet gear. Today sailors have a mess deck locker. The ditty box in the photograph belonged to Temp Petty officer Terence Arthur Thomas Hutchins, who served on board HMNZS Achilles during the Second World War. Inside he kept many different items including photographs of his family. The medals in the box were awarded posthumously, after his death from illness in 1942, and added to the box by his wife Violet. The ditty box is on display in the museum.
This school holiday at Torpedo Bay Navy Museum we will be busy decorating our very own 'ditty boxes'. How will you personalise your 'ditty box'? What special treasures will you keep in yours?
When you have finished decorating your own 'ditty box' take some time to explore the museum and see if you can find the one we have on display.
If children want to bring a printed photograph or picture to stick inside their 'ditty box' they can do - but please make sure it measures no larger than 6cm by 6cm and that they have permission to do so first!
Come and join us everyday from Saturday 5th July until Sunday 20th July.
Sessions will run daily at 10:30, 11:30, 1:30 and 2:30 and last approx 30 minutes
There is a cost of $5 per box
The activity is suitable for 3 years and over. Some children may still need adult assistance.
Bookings are advised though some walk up spaces may be available on the day.
Groups of 10 or more and all Holiday Programmes must pre book.
Bookings can be made by emailing
or by calling 09 445 5186