Venture into the secret world of submarine warfare on HMAS Onslow.

Our submarine was decommissioned in 1999, just weeks before coming to the museum. It's still close to operational condition. So, if you go onboard, listen out for the diving alarm!

Onslow was commissioned during the Cold War, a tense time that called for a submarine to watch, listen and collect information without detection. It's most secretive work was tracking Soviet submarines moving into the Arabian Gulf from Vladivostok via the Coral Sea and the Great Australian Bight.

With 5 other Oberons, Onslow gave the Royal Australian Navy a formidable submarine force. The motto of the navy's submarine arm is "Strength, silence, surprise". This explains many of Onslow's characteristics, including:

  • a diving chamber for Special Forces to leave the boat for covert operations
  • a gash ejector containing weighted rubbish (gash) bags. When ejected, the bags sink to the ocean floor so no debris floats to give away the submarine's position
  • soundproofing on all equipment to make Oberons one of the quietest class of submarines ever built.

Onslow has travelled the equivalent of more than 16 times around the world, serving Australia with quiet distinction for 30 years.

Explore the danger and drama of life on board Onslow in Action Stations, our immersive experience.