MB 172

An elegant timber motor boat

The museum's navy launch MB172 underway

  • About


    This elegant timber launch once ferried naval officers but now transports museum staff and guests on Sydney Harbour. It was built by the Royal Australian Navy at Garden Island dockyard and worked mostly on on Port Phillip and later Jervis Bay. It was restored by apprentice shipwrights from Australian Defence Industries in the late 1980s and presented to the museum.

    Ticket Information

    Open daily from 9:30am and can be viewed from our wharves for free.

    Buy a Big Ticket when you arrive (see our Admissions page for prices).

    Our Plan Your Visit page has everything you need to know about a trip to the museum.

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    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. Most vessels involve some climbing, crouching and navigating confined spaces.
    • No high heels. Flat shoes with enclosed toe recommended.
    • Buy a Big Ticket for full access to the museum’s vessels or save money with a Family Membership Pass.

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  • More info

    More info


    Motor Boat 172 was built by the Royal Australian Navy as a naval officers' launch at the Garden Island Naval Dockyard, Sydney in 1937. MB172  spent a short period in Darwin Harbour before being sent to the naval shore establishment HMAS LONSDALE in Port Melbourne in 1940. From 1957 through to the 1970s MB 172 was attached to the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS CRESWELL at Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

    Elegant timber launches such as this were eventually replaced by fibreglass and aluminium general purpose utility boats.

    When MB 172 was decommissioned, it was stored ashore for many years and stripped of all reusable equipment. It was later transferred from the Royal Australian Navy to the Australian National Maritime Museum. In the late 1980s apprentice shipwrights at Australian Defence Industries rebuilt the launch at its yard in Ryde, New South Wales and fabricated fittings at its Rosebery foundry.

    It is now used as a work boat for transporting guests and museum personnel on Sydney Harbour.

    Ship specifications

    Built 1937
     Length  11.88 m
     Breadth  3.48 m
     Draught  1.22 m
     Displacement  10 tonnes
     Construction  Carvel, spotted gum planking and frames, teak cabin
     Sail  Auxiliary gaff ketch 58.27 m
     Engine  6-cylinder Volvo Penta TAMD 41 diesel, 125 kW
  • 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.

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