Vessel

Destroyer: HMAS Vampire

The last of the big gun ships

The museum's navy destroyer HMAS Vampire at the museum wharf

Climb aboard the HMAS Vampire, Australia's largest museum vessel and the last of the country's big gun ships.

  • About

    About

    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.  Their strong, light construction combined high speed with maximum armament.

    Vampire served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1959 to 1986. Its arsenal included:

    • 3 twin turrets housing 6 x 4.5-inch guns (still in place)
    • 2 single-gun and 2 twin-gun Bofors anti-aircraft guns (still in place)
    • 5 anti-ship torpedo launchers (removed in 1970)
    • surface to subsurface anti-submarine mortar (removed in 1980)

    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.

    Explore the danger and drama of life on board Vampire in Action Stations, our all-new immersive experience.

    Ticket Information

    Open daily, 9.30am–5pm (last boarding at 4.10pm)

    Buy a Big Ticket online or when you arrive (see our Admissions page for prices and to book your tickets) which includes entry to all visitor spaces as well as tours of HMAS Vampire and Submarine HMAS Onslow. 

    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, as well as many other benefits.

    Visiting tips

    • Kids must be accompanied by an adult.
    • For safety reasons, children have to be at least 90cm in height to board all vessels.
    • Be prepared to get physical. This vessel involves some climbing, crouching and navigating confined spaces.
    • No high heels. Flat shoes with enclosed toe recommended.
    • To ensure visitor safety, we close all vessels when the temperature reaches 36° Celsius.
    • Buy a Big Ticket for full access to the museum’s vessels or save money with a Family Membership Pass.

    Take a tour

    Why is the ship called 'Vampire'? Take a guided tour of this fascinating ship to find that out and more! 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 both Destroyer HMAS Vampire and Submarine HMAS Onslow is included when you buy a Big Ticket. Ask at the desk about tour times when you arrive.

    Download the 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.

    Download the HMAS Vampire App from Google Play.

    Download the HMAS Vampire App from the App Store.

    Keep in touch

    Receive our e-newsletters for the latest news including special offers, advance bookings, sneak previews and more.

    Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for updates and to join the conversation.

  • Photo Gallery

    Photo Gallery

    Drawing of HMAS VAMPIREMother and child in HMAS VAMPIRE. Photo by Wendell Levi Teodoro.HMAS VAMPIRE, photo by Wendell Levi Teodoro.Family onboard HMAS VAMPIRE, photo by Wendell Levi Teodoro.Couple in the bridge of HMAS VAMPIREHMAS VAMPIRE in Darling HarbourYoung girl exploring HMAS VAMPIRE. Photo by Wendell Levi Teodoro.
  • Ship Specifications

    Ship Specifications

    Daring class destroyer

    Keel laid 1952, launched 1956; Commissioned 1959; Decommissioned 1986; Lent by the Department of Defence (1990–1997), transferred to the National Maritime Museum 1997
    Length 118.65 (389 ft)
    Displacement 3,888 tonnes (full load)
    Range 5,612 km (3,030 nautical miles) at 20 knots
    Breadth
    13.11 m (43 ft)
    Draught 5.49 m (18 ft)
    Range 5,612 km (3,030 nautical miles) at 20 knots
    Original complement 245 sailors, 29 officers
    Original armament Three twin 4.5 inch Mark 6 gun mountings; two single 40/60mm Bofors Mark 9 AA guns; two twin 40/60mm Bofors Mark 5 AA guns (removed 1980, reinstalled 1994); one triple-barrelled Mark 10 anti-submarine mortar (removed 1980); one quintuple 21-inch Mark 4 torpedo tube mounting (removed 1970)
    Call sign
    Originally VJZC; VKMC from 1980s
    Pendant D11; reduced to 11 in 1969
    Built Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, NSW
    Machinery Two Foster Wheeler three drum superheated boilers; two English Electric Company geared steam turbines, generating 40,284 kW (54,000 hp); twin screws and rudders
    Speed 30.5 knots maximum (56.5 km/h)

  • School Excursions

    School Excursions

    A group of school children on endeavour

    School Excursions

    We offer a truly unique excursion experience for students and teachers alike.