On 27 December 2017 we were all feeling the obscene amounts of food and drink we had consumed over the past week and so we knew it was to be a walking day!
With our very Irish-Australian complexions, it was 50+ suncream all around, hats, backpacks, bottles of water and packed snacks. The kids were pumped, they didn’t know what they were in for as they had never been to the Australian Maritime Museum, I hadn’t been in around 10 years and my Husband had not been since he was a kid.
As luck would have it, we must have gone just before the crowds arrived, we seemed to be ahead of the crowds of people for most of the day – which was unheard of for Sydney!
Opened in 1991, the Australian Maritime Museum is in prime position at the harbour-side of the centre of Sydney and it remains the Australian government’s most visible national cultural institution in Sydney (http://www.anmm.gov.au/About-Us/Our-History). Not only are there hundreds of artefacts but there are several floating historical vessels to explore. There are many wonderful volunteers/staff offering their time, dedication and passion into sharing the history of these vessels with the 520,000+ visitors annually.
The museum has one of the largest floating historical vessel collections in the world and with a replica of Captain Cook’s HMB Endeavour, the former Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire, former Naval patrol boat HMAS Advance and the former Navy submarine HMAS Onslow – there is something absolutely exhilarating about getting onto the vessels and getting a real feel for life aboard!
We had an absolutely lovely gentleman by the name of Bob show us the history of the James Craig, which we were lucky enough to see as it was in-port at the time of our visit. The James Craig was built in 1874 and is Sydney’s only 19th Century Tall Ship. Her restoration cost approximately $30 million dollars and took over 40 years after she was rescued from Recherche Bay in southern Tasmania. The James Craig regularly sails with up to 80 passengers and is available for charter and functions. The kids had an absolute ball, G and I explored every nook and cranny and I would love the opportunity to sail on the James Craig if it was ever possible!
We next explored the HMAS Onslow – an amazing 295 ft submarine, which was launched in 1968. The Onslow is still very close to operational condition so the alarms and all remain in function. I really enjoyed exploring this vessel but I must admit, I did start to feel pretty claustrophobic rather quickly! The HMAS Onslow has a proud history in serving Australia for nearly 30 years, venturing around the world more than 16 times! The kids loved using the periscopes, as did we!
We last visited the HMAS Vampire, a Destroyer which was the last of the Big Gun ships, as after this Australia’s fighting ships were equipped with missile weaponry. My favourite part of this ship were the 3 twin turrets housing with the 6 x 4.5-inch guns nd the 2 single-gun and 2 twin-gun Bofors anti-aircraft guns which you are able to get up close and personal to.
The Australian Maritime Museum is a fantastic adventure whether you are solo, with your partner, with your family and at any age at all. Kids do need to be at least 90cm high and need to be accompanied by an adult. You need to ensure you are wearing flat shoes and as it does involve climbing crouching and navigating confined spaces – it’s important to have a good level of physical ability.
A Big Ticket will give you access to everything open on the day of your visit – a family pass will cost $79 and adult tickets are $32. You can book here :).
Thank you Australian Maritime Museum for such a wonderful visit and special thanks to Bob for so passionately showing us around the James Craig and answering all of our boys questions – we know he had a lot!
x C x