Exhibition

Wharf 7

Skiffs to speedboats - the history of fun in Sydney harbour

Various vessels on display at the Wharf 7 heritage centre of the Australian National Maritime Museum

Wharf 7 heritage centre is home to the legendary Taipan and other beautiful heritage boats

Ticket Info
  • About

    About

    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. 


    Ticket Information

    Open daily, 9.30am–5pm

    FREE entry


    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. 


    Behind-the-Scenes Tour

    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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    Summer Holidays

    Join us for our biggest summer adventure yet, 28 December - 25 January. Time-travelling theatre shows, hands-on workshops, interactive exhibitions and more. It’s fun for the whole family!

  • Info for Teachers and schools

    Info for Teachers and schools

    Excursion preparation information for visiting schools: Plan Your Visit

    Book a school visit and program

  • Visit a Vessel

    Visit a Vessel

    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!

    See Vessels