Exhibition

Action Stations

The Experience

Submarine HMAS Onslow at sea

Explore the danger and drama of Navy life in this hi-tech and immersive exhibition.

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  • About

    About

    Action Stations is an exciting new way for you to experience the compelling history of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

    Explore the danger and drama of military life at sea through a hi-tech and immersive journey that shows the inner workings of the Navy like never before.

    This exhibition reinterprets and enlivens our much-loved ex-RAN vessels: HMAS Vampire (Daring class destroyer) HMAS Onslow (Oberon class submarine) and HMAS Advance (Attack class patrol boat).

    Immersive Cinematic Experience

    The immersive cinema in Action Stations

    A thrilling short film on a giant screen with exhilarating sound will transport you inside Vampire and Onslow during operations.

    Experience the force and vastness of the ocean, the speed and power of the destroyer and the submerged stealth of the submarine.

    Leave the cinema space excited to explore the actual vessels you have just seen depicted in dramatic action at sea.

     

    Discovery & Exploration Space

    Visitors in the discovery and exploration space in Action Stations

    Welcome to over 100 years of Navy vessels and Navy history.

    This space features a huge interactive table with large touchscreens, highlighting a range of global political contexts from WWI to the present day, and illustrating how the RAN responds to Australia’s needs in a constantly changing world.

    You can also learn more about the submarines AE2 and AE1, as well as maritime archaeology.


    The Vessels

    Submarine HMAS Onslow in front of the waterfront pavilion

    New projections, soundscapes, lighting and music will awaken you to the very real dangers faced by a naval crew.

    Oberon-class submarine HMAS Onslow (1969-1999)

    Commissioned during the Cold War, a tense time that called for a submarine to watch, listen and collect information without being detected. Decommissioned in 1999, just weeks before coming to the Museum. It’s most secretive work was tracking Soviet submarines moving into the Arabian Gulf from Vladivostok via the Coral Sea and the Great Australian Bight.

    Daring-class destroyer HMAS Vampire (1959-1986)

    Australia’s largest museum vessel is the last of the country’s big gun ships. After this, Australia’s fighting ships were equipped with missile weaponry.

    The Daring class were the largest destroyers built in Australia. Their strong, light construction combined high speed with maximum armament.


    360 degree virtual reality tour

    Captain John Dikkenberg on board submarine HMAS Onslow

    Join ex-submarine commander John Dikkenberg on a fascinating 360 degree virtual reality tour of submarine HMAS Onslow, moored outside the waterfront pavilion.

    This video takes you through three operational sections of Onslow and features demonstrations, animation and archival sequences which bring the submarine to life. 

    Watch the 360 degree video >> 


    Watch the trailer

    Ticket information

    Open daily, 9.30am–5pm

    Eventbrite - Action Stations Experience


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  • Digital Story

    Digital Story

    The mysterious disappearance of submarine AE1

    Last known image of the AE1 submarine at sea

    Discover the story of Australia's most enduring maritime mystery — the loss of the navy’s first submarine AE1 in 1914.

     

  • Photo Gallery

    Photo Gallery

    Illustration of the new warships pavilion ground viewIllustration of the new warships pavilion night time viewPhotomontage of the new Warships Pavilion with Advance and Barangaroo in the backgroundArchitect's illustration of the Australian National Maritime Museum's wharves and Warships Pavilion
  • HMAS AE1 Memorial & Competition

    HMAS AE1 Memorial & Competition

    ‘...the ocean bed their tomb’ 

    Artwork by Warren Langley, 2015, Stainless steel, LED lighting, PVC piping.

    Located in the water between the display pontoon and North Wharf pontoon just outside Action Stations, this work of art commemorates the loss, in the early months of World War I, of Australia’s first submarine AE1 with its 35 Australian and British officers and crew.

    AE1 disappeared on 14 September 1914 with all hands while patrolling German waters off Duke of York Island, present day Papua New Guinea.

    This was Australia’s first major loss of the war. So close to home it had a major impact on the public consciousness. The title of the work‘...the ocean bed their tomb’ is taken from a poem published in newspapers of the time by South Australian Anne Almer.

    More than one hundred years later AE1’s loss and location remain a mystery.

    The work takes the form of a wreath floating above the water, casting its shadow on its surface to the rhythm of the water’s movement, day and night. It is about reflection.

    According to artist Warren Langley, “a burial at sea is not uncommonly accompanied by a floating wreath of flowers. In September 1914, in the early months of WW1 it is unlikely that the luxury of a floral wreath would have been available. The concept for this art work imagines an alternative, equally beautiful wreath constructed of floating twigs, branches and vegetative flotsam from the waters off Papua.

    This is an art work about contemplation and reflection in both a literal and metaphorical sense.

    In sunlight, the polished stainless steel structure shimmers and reflects its image upon the water surface. At night a concealed light source creates a complex optical intrigue of reflections.”

    ‘...the ocean bed their tomb’ is part of the ANMM collection and is supported by the Australian Government’s ANZAC Centenary Arts and Culture Fund.

    100 years of ANZAC The spirit lives 2014-2015   Australian Government coat of arms Department of Communications and the Arts

    Jeff Flectcher, Kevin Sumption, Daina Fletcher, Emilia, Catherine


    National speech competition for year 9 students 

    In a recent national writing competition for schools, Year 9 students were tasked with writing about HMAS AE1, Australia’s first submarine, lost without a trace with all 35 crew on 14 September 1914. They were asked to think about the world in the context of 1914, the significance of the submarine’s loss and its relevance to the Anzac tradition.  

    The winners were Emelia Haskey, from St Dominic’s Priory College in South Australia, and Catherine McClymont, from Annandale Christian College in Queensland. As part of the prize, the winners and their families were flown to Sydney to present their speeches at the unveiling ceremony of ‘… the ocean bed their tomb’, an art installation by Warren Langley, on 14 September 2015 – exactly 101 years after the disappearance of AE1. This wreath-shaped form of stainless steel and light floats above the waters of the museum’s basin to commemorate the men who died, and who still lie in an unknown location off Papua New Guinea.

    Emilia and Catherine spoke about commemoration, loss, duty, fear, reflection and thanks. 

     

    Read the winning speeches by Emilia and Catherine.

    Catherine and Amilia giving their winning speeches at the Waterfront of the museum
  • EOI - public art project

    EOI - public art project

    Public art project to evoke the engagement between AE2 and Sultanhisar in 1915


    The Australian National Maritime Museum seeks Expressions of interest from artists to develop a work of public art for the external waterfront forecourt of the museum at the entrance to its new Action Stations experience on the wharves. The work should have a 20 year life.

    The AE2 Sultanhisar art project is proposed to explore bicultural perspectives of the engagement between the crews of the Australian submarine AE2and the Ottoman torpedo boat Sultanhisar in the Sea of Marmara 25-30 April 1915 as part of the Allied invasion of Gallipoli.

    Aims for the project:

    1. to raise the profile of this little-known story in the Gallipoli/Gelibolu narrative
    2. to explore bicultural perspectives on this historic and powerful naval engagement

    Submissions due: Monday 19 October 2015. Download the brief.

    Please address submissions to Daina Fletcher Senior Curator or dfletcher@anmm.gov.au, or by post to Australian National Maritime Museum, Wharf 7, 58 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont NSW 2009; inquiries 02 92983714.

    Crew On board Ottoman torpedo boat Sultanhisar 1915, Turkish Naval Museum, IstanbulAustralian submarine HMAS AE2 in the Suez Canal en route to Europe 1915View of the museum forecourt looking towards the museumView of the museum forecourt looking towards the lighhouseView of the museum forecourt looking towards the city