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HMAS Vampire, Daring class destroyer, 1956On permanent display | Museum wharves | Ticket prices
"Lord above send down a dove
To look after Daring sailors
For as we pay off the ship we love
We hope she won't be razors
We salute the Fleet that is left this week
Mourning the good ship's passing
For this is the last of the destroyers sleek
That has served at sea so lasting
This day at ten an era will end
Of ships and men both rugged
But the Fleet will shine and continue to fend
Though today the Bat is buggered
Farewell and Audamis [sic]"
Signal sent from HMAS Vampire on her last day of service, 12 August 1986, to Commander, Australian Fleet.
HMAS Vampire, 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. These powerful, fast ships were designed principally for the machinery and weapons of war. One look at the cramped living spaces onboard and you will see that comfort came a poor second!
Vampire served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1959 to 1986. Its arsenal included:
- three twin turrets housing 4.5" guns (still in place)
- anti-aircraft guns (still in place)
- torpedo launchers
- anti-submarine mortars.
Despite this armament, Vampire had a peaceful career, even while escorting troops to Vietnam in the 1960s. In 1977, Vampire had a brush with royalty as the RAN escort for HMY Britannia during the Queen's Silver Jubilee tour of Australia. In 1980, it was refitted as a RAN training ship.
Vampire guided tour
Why is the ship called Vampire? You'll have to take the excellent guided tour of this fascinating ship to find out! Imagine life onboard, view the crucial workings of the ship, then experience Action Stations in 'A' Gun Bay and listen to recordings of former Vampire sailors' experiences at sea. A tour of Vampire and the submarine, HMAS Onslow, is included in the museum big ticket.
Vampire mobile app
A free self-guided audio tour of HMAS Vampire is available as a mobile app for iPhone & Android smartphones. The app features 103 minutes of audio and accompanying images that explore different aspects of the ship.