Australian National Maritime Museum

Location: 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Australia is blessed with a number of excellent privately owned and government operated maritime museum, and the Australian Ntional Maritime Museum in Sydney is up there with the best of them. Conveniently located at Darling Harbour, within walking distance of the Central Business District, the museum is home to the Commonwealth of Australia's extensive collection of indoor and outdoor displays featuring Australia's maritime history. The Museum fleet includes the Patrol Boat HMAS Advance (1968); Oberon class submarine HMAS Onslow (1968); Darling class destroyer HMAS Vampire (1956); the barque James Craig (1874) and a variety of historic small wooden boats. Permanent indoor displays focus on the Royal Australian Navy, Navigators who defined the Australian coastline, Sea Journeys, Watermarks and coastal commerce.
Phone (02) 9552 7777. Recorded information: 0055 62002. Open daily 9.30 - 5.00 pm. Website >>

One of six museums directly operated by the Federal government, the ANMM is the only one located outside of the Australian Capital Territory. The museum is structured around seven main galleries, focusing on the discovery of Australia, the relationships between the Australian Aborigines and the water, travel to Australia by sea, the ocean as a resource, water-based relaxation and entertainment, the naval defence of the nation, and the relationship between the United States of America and Australia. The last gallery was funded by the United States government, and is the only national museum gallery in the world funded by a foreign nation. Four additional gallery spaces are used for temporary exhibits. Three museum ships - the HM Bark Endeavour Replica, the destroyer HMAS Vampire, and the submarine HMAS Onslow - are open to the public, while smaller historical vessels berthed outside can be viewed but not boarded.

The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is a federally-operated maritime museum located in Darling Harbour, Sydney. After consideration of the idea to establish a maritime museum, the Federal government announced that a national maritime museum would be constructed at Darling Harbour, tied into the New South Wales State government's redevelopment of the area for the Australian bicentenary. The museum building was designed by Philip Cox, and although an opening date of 1988 was initially set, construction delays, cost overruns, and disagreements between the State and Federal governments over funding responsibility pushed the opening back to 1991.

Ship Collection

The ANMM's collection of museum ships focuses on three vessels that are open for public inspection: the HM Bark Endeavour Replica, the destroyer HMAS Vampire, and the submarine HMAS Onslow. In addition, the 19th century barque James Craig is moored nearby and can be toured with a museum ticket.

The three main vessels in the ANMM ship collection, the HM Bark Endeavour Replica, the destroyer HMAS Vampire, and the submarine HMAS Onslow, on display at the wharves outside the museum. During the mid-1980s, it was proposed that a replica of explorer James Cook's ship, HM Bark Endeavour be constructed for the museum. Funding for construction was initially provided by the Bond Corporation, and construction began at the start of 1988. However, in 1990, the company ran into financial difficulties, and construction was unable to continue until a charitable trust was established in 1991 to complete and operate the replica Endeavour. The vessel was completed in 1994, and spent the next ten years sailing around Australia and the world before ownership was transferred to the ANMM in 2005.

The Daring-class destroyer HMAS Vampire is the only ship of her class to be preserved, and was the last gun-destroyer to serve in the Royal Australian Navy. Vampire was commissioned into the RAN in 1959, and served until 1986. The destroyer was loaned to the ANMM on its opening in 1991, and was transferred completely to museum ownership in 1997.

The Oberon-class submarine HMAS Onslow was introduced into RAN service in 1969. She was operated until early 1999, and was given to the ANMM that year. Despite no longer being in naval commission, Vampire and Onslow have permission to fly the Australian White Ensign. Prior to Onslow ' s acquisition, the former Russian submarine Foxtrot-540 was on display at the museum from 1995 to 1998. The submarine had been purchased in 1994 by a group of Australian businessmen, and was placed on display for the duration of the lease purchase contract, after which the submarine was relocated to California.

Other vessels on display (but not open for public boarding) include:

HMAS Advance, one of twenty Attack-class patrol boats built by the RAN during the 1960s to patrol Australia's northern waters. Advance served from 1968 until 1988, then was transferred to the ANMM. The patrol boat is in operational condition.

Akarana, a New Zealand racing yacht built to compete in Australia's centenary races, and restored as New Zealand's bicentenary gift.

Bareki, the last timber-built tugboat in service with the NSW Maritime Services Board. The tugboat was built in 1962, and primarily used for dredging and towing work between Port Kembla and Newcastle. Bareki serves as the museum's active tugboat.

The lightship Carpentaria, an unmanned lightvessel (effectively a floating lighthouse) built during 1916 and 1917. The vessel operated in the Gulf of Carpentaria, off Sandy Cape, Queensland, and in Bass Strait during a career which ended in 1983. In 1987, the vessel was donated to the ANMM collection.

John Louis, one of the last pearling luggers to operate in Australian waters.

Kathleen Gillett, a double-ended ketch built for an Australian sailor from designs by Colin Archer, a Norwegian man who spent time in Australia as a farmer before returning to Norway and becoming a naval architect. The yacht competed in the first Sydney to Hobart race, and was the second Australian yacht to circumnavigate the globe. The vessel ended up in Guam, was purchased by the Norwegian government in 1987, and restored as Norway's bicentennial gift.

MV Krait, a fishing trawler used during World War II for Operation Jaywick, a commando operation to scuttle Japanese vessels in Singapore harbour. She was sold off after the war and used as a workboat for the Indonesian timber trade, but was rediscovered by Australian special forces veterans in 1962. Krait was acquired by the Australian War Memorial, then transferred on loan to the ANMM in 1988.

Sekar Aman, an Indonesian perahu.

Tu Do, a Vietnamese vessel used by 31 South Vietnamese refugees to reach Darwin in 1975, following the end of the Vietnam War. Tu Do was acquired by the ANMM in 1990.

MB 172, a former officer's launch built by the RAN in 1937, and used primarily in Darwin. The vessel is active, and used to transport museum staff and guests. The vessel unofficially carries the name Epic Lass, as the launch's restoration was sponsored by Epiglass.

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