It is understood that Norman Lindsay crafted a total of fourteen model ships, all very intricate and all depicting quite different vessels.
The model of Captain Cook's Endeavour was sold to the National Museum of Victoria in 1917 for £100, both the Royal Charles and the Joseph Conrad, were gifted to the University of Melbourne, two are in private collections, the Elizabethan Ship was lost or stolen and the remaining eight models form a part of the collection at the Norman Lindsay Gallery at Springwood.
In his book Norman Lindsay's Ship Models (1966); he says that his passion for such ships dates back to the age of three of four years, when the father of his family's "hefty ginger-haired housemaid" made him a model of a full-rigged ship. Later, he says, when he was an art student in Melbourne, he "often frequented the Yarra wharves with a sketch-book"; but, "it was not until I came to Sydney, with its glorious harbour, that the perfection of the full-rigged ship was revealed to me".
Whilst in London in 1910 his passion for sailing ships expanded and spent three months studying sailing ships of all makes and periods making substantial drawings of many of them. Upon his return to Sydney Lindsay began making first model ship, the Endeavour. His last model, the Greek Galley, was made in 1965.
Some of Norman Lindsay’s model ships include the Greek Galley, which was, the last to be made by Norman Lindsay but is also the earliest type of ship that he made: the Tudor Galleon which he attributes as a 'Tudor galleon of Henry VII's times', but is far similar to ships designed by Phineas Pett during the reign of Charles I.
Other ships include the Royal Caroline which was built in 1749, Juno which was first introduced by the Royal Navy in 1756; the East Indiaman; Thermopylae which was built in 1868 for the China tea trade and used between 1874 and 1890 for the Australian wool trade. The Naval Cutter of 1800 and the Flush Deck Ship were also features in his collection.