Skiffs to speedboats - the history of fun in Sydney harbour
Wharf 7 heritage centre is home to the legendary Taipan and other beautiful heritage boats
Two minutes’ walk from the main museum building is Wharf 7 Maritime Heritage Centre where historic watercraft of all shapes and sizes are kept in the collections of the Australian National Maritime Museum and Sydney Heritage Fleet. They are a tangible link to the stories of our maritime past.
Sydney Heritage Fleet began amassing their collection of dinghies, skiffs, speedboats and rowing shells in the early 1960s, focusing on the democracy and fun of Sydney Harbour.
The National Maritime Museum’s vessels, which include Ben Lexcen’s revolutionary 18-footer Taipan, the nation’s oldest surviving hydroplane and the test tank model used to refine the winged keel of Australia II, are much more diverse in origin, appearance and use and tell the larger national story of Australians and the sea.
This extraordinary resource of significant vessels has led to the development of the Australian Register of Historic Vessels (ARHV). Jointly managed by both organisations, it is a national project seeking to catalogue Australia’s significant surviving historic watercraft.
The ARHV now holds details of hundreds of vessels from every state and territory across Australia. Some of those boats are here on display in Wharf 7, giving us a small window into the rich and diverse selection of historic material held in our museum collections.
Open daily, 9.30am–5pm
See our Admissions page for full price information and to book your tickets. Our Plan Your Visit page has everything you need to know about a trip to the museum.
Become a Maritime Museum Member and receive FREE or discounted entry to all our events and exhibitions.
Take a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the Maritime Heritage Centre in the historic Wharf 7 building. This is an exciting chance to hear from expert guides about the inner workings of the Sydney Heritage Fleet and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
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Docked at the museum’s wharves, the destroyer HMAS Vampire is Australia's largest museum vessel and is the last of the country's big gun ships. 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!
At the museum’s wharves you will also find our submarine HMAS Onslow which was decommissioned in 1999, just weeks before coming to the museum. It's still close to operational condition. So, if you venture onboard, listen out for the diving alarm!
And don’t forget to explore our patrol boat, HMAS Advance. Commissioned in 1968, this hardworking boat served out of Darwin until 1980. In that time it helped shadow a Russian fishing boat suspected of spying, expelled illegal foreign fishing boats, weathered Cyclone Tracy in 1974, helped with hydrographic surveys of Australia's north-west coast and became a TV star on the ABC!
Behind the scenes Tour
Extended to 6:00 pm in January
Last boarding time for Submarine and Tall Ships – 4.10pm
Closed Christmas Day 25 December.
+61 2 9298 3777
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© Copyright 2013
Australia National Maritime Museum
Every day 9.30 am - 5 pm
Extend to 6.00 pm in January
Closed Xmas Day 25 Dec.
2 Murrey Street
sydney NSW 2000, AU
+61 2 9298 3777