The Great Circle is the journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History. It was established in 1979 and attracts articles from both within Australia and overseas and has established a scholarly reputation. The Great Circle is a refereed journal and is published twice a year.

A great circle is the intersect of a sphere and a plane going through the centre of that sphere. The shortest distance between two places on earth is represented by the great circle that links them together. Although the geographical and climatological conditions of the earth prevent shipping from following a great circle course for any long distance, the concept is of the greatest importance for ocean-going navigation. Particularly during the heyday of the sailing clippers, masters deviated as little as possible from these magic lines on their charts. As such, The Great Circle symbolises the significance of Australia's overseas maritime links and indicates the aim of the association to promote the development of maritime history. Figuratively, The Great Circle also expresses its second objective: to encompass all individuals and groups interested in all aspects of maritime history, both in Australia and abroad.

The five diagrams on the back cover (courtesy of Rolf Krackowizer) illustrate some of the ships of significance to Australian and global maritime history: a Dutch East-Indiaman (c. 1700), the barque Parmelia (1825-39), a typical four-masted barque (c. 1900), a British battlecruiser of World War I, and the German containership Sydney Express (1970).

2021 Vol 43 No.1

2021 Vol 43 No.1

  • John Minor Maury on the Island of Nuku Hiva (Michael Lee Wittig)
  • Keep Them Out! Early Nineteenth Century English/Dutch Rivalry in Eastern Indonesia and Australia and the Founding of Merkus-Oord (Jeroen Overweel)
  • In the Wake of the Steam Tug Escort (Heather Campbell)
  • Chasing the Tale of the Mermaid and Other Kimberley Tales (Peter A Gunn)

2020 Vol 42 No.2

2020 Vol 42 No.2

  • Obituary for Professor Alan Powell, pre-eminent maritime historian of Northern Australia (David Carment)
  • Captain Cook, What Were You Thinking (Alan W Everett)
  • Carl August Nielsen 1849-1919 Developer of Commercial Otter Trawling (Trevor Kenchington)
  • Carl August Nielsen 1849-1919 Pioneer of the Australian and New Zealand Trawl Fisheries (Trevor Kenchington)
  • On the Discovery of The Last Will and Testament of Willem Jansz of Amsterdam, with a Detailed Overview of the Legacy of His Australian Discoveries in the Years 1606 and 1618 (Adriaan de Jong)

Call for Papers

Editorial team

General Editor: Professor Erika Techera
Book Review Editor: Professor Erika Techera
Production Manager: Dr Ian Chambers
Editorial Board:  
  • Catherine Kelly, University of Bristol
  • Joy McCann, Australian National University
  • Steve Mullins, Central Queensland University
  • Timothy Runyan, East Carolina University

Great Circle Indexes 1979 – 2018

Two separate indexes to the papers and book reviews in The Great Circle volumes have been collated. These files are Adobe Acrobat (pdf) files.

The Australian National Library contain copies of our publications. Past The Great Circle articles are available on JSTOR.

Papers in The Great Circle 1979-2018

Reviews in The Great Circle 1979-2018