Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre

The Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre is the maritime museum of the Royal Australian Navy. The centre opened on 4 October 2005 and is located within the Public Access Area on the northern end of the Garden Island naval base in Sydney.

The need for such a facility was first recognised in 1922, by Vice Admiral Sir William Creswell who suggested the building of a museum to permanently display the Australian Navy’s already rich and unique heritage. Since then, there have been several attempts to establish an international-standard naval museum.

The origins of the RANHC date from 2001, when the then Chief of the Navy commissioned a Naval Heritage Management Study to examine in detail how the RAN's past might best be used to support the present Navy’s goals. One of the most important recommendations was the creation of a facility for the public display of the Naval Heritage Collection (NHC). Once approval for funding was received, a RANHC Project Board was formed and the project began on 24 May 2004. The NHC contains more than 250,000 individual items, and the mission of the RANHC is to display those objects of museum standard to the public, and through these displays capture something of the Australian naval experience.

Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre
Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre
LocationGarden Island, Sydney
Coordinates33°51′35″S 151°13′45″E / 33.8598014°S 151.2291777°E
TypeMaritime Museum
WebsiteOfficial Site


The Professions of Navy

This is a large thematic display focusing on how the Navy’s people have 'done the job' at sea over the years. Branches and categories past and present are used to explain how the naval profession has changed and developed.

The Periscope

This exhibit features a unique interactive display a fully operational submarine attack periscope has been installed to allow visitors an unusual view of Sydney Harbour.

Naval Technology and Ordnance

A specific display illustrating how the Navy has developed and applied technology to the sea-fighting environment. It includes precision instruments for navigation and gunnery, in addition to examples of naval ordnance ranging from shells and torpedoes to modern guided missiles.

The Battle of Sydney

This centres on the fin and control centre from one of the Japanese midget submarines that attacked Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May-1 June 1942, and also includes the Boom Boat belonging to the Maritime Services Board that first raised the alarm. The display is supported by an interactive audiovisual presentation.

RAN Heritage Centre
The RAN Heritage Centre building, at the northern end of Garden Island
In Which We Serve

This is a large chronological display of items that tell the stories of famous Australian ships and their battles. Artefacts are included from the colonial era, the First and Second World Wars, the Cold War and operations in the Persian Gulf.

Boats and Dockyards

The 1913 Boatshed has been dedicated as the display gallery for artefacts related to small boats and Australian dockyards, particularly Garden Island.

A Sailors Life For Me

This main exhibition display uses the entire mezzanine level of the workshop building, and provides visitors with an introduction to a sailor’s life at sea. The display includes a mock-up of a World War II-era mess deck, as well as artefacts highlighting naval traditions and pastimes.

The Bridge

This is a mock-up of a Battle-class destroyer's open bridge, and is one of the major interactive displays in the Centre. Using original equipment from 50 years ago, the Bridge is aimed at helping visitors acquire some experience of what takes place on a warship’s bridge at sea.


Submarine Conning Tower M 22 'Battle of Sydney' (3)

Submarine Conning Tower M 22 'Battle of Sydney'

Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre (2)

Naval Technology

Torpedo Control Console Mk 17 Mod 6 - RAN Oberon Class Submarine

Torpedo Control Console Mk 17 Mod 6 - RAN Oberon Class Submarine

Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre (3)

World War II-era mess deck

Attack Periscope Type CH74 - RAN Oberon Class Submarine 1957-99

Attack Periscope Type CH74 - RAN Oberon Class Submarine 1957-99

RAN Heritage Centre Bridge Telephone

Bridge Telephone

RAN Heritage Centre Speed Indicator

Speed Indicator

Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre (4)

Diving Display

See also

External links

Coordinates: 33°51′34″S 151°13′48″E / 33.859493°S 151.230004°E

10.5 cm SK L/40 naval gun

The 10.5 cm SK L/40 (SK - Schnelladekanone (quick-loading cannon) L - Länge (with a 40-caliber long barrel) was a German naval gun used in World War I and World War II.

Attack on Sydney Harbour

In late May and early June 1942, during World War II, submarines belonging to the Imperial Japanese Navy made a series of attacks on the cities of Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. On the night of 31 May – 1 June, three Ko-hyoteki-class midget submarines, each with a two-member crew, entered Sydney Harbour, avoided the partially constructed Sydney Harbour anti-submarine boom net, and attempted to sink Allied warships. Two of the midget submarines were detected and attacked before they could successfully engage any Allied vessels, and the crews scuttled their submarines and killed themselves. These submarines were later recovered by the Allies. The third submarine attempted to torpedo the heavy cruiser USS Chicago, but instead sank the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors. This midget submarine's fate was unknown until 2006, when amateur scuba divers discovered the wreck off Sydney's northern beaches.

Immediately following the raid, the five Japanese fleet submarines that carried the midget submarines to Australia embarked on a campaign to disrupt merchant shipping in eastern Australian waters. Over the next month, the submarines attacked at least seven merchant vessels, sinking three ships and killing 50 sailors. During this period, between midnight and 02:30 on 8 June, two of the submarines bombarded the ports of Sydney and Newcastle.

The midget submarine attacks and subsequent bombardments are among the best-known examples of Axis naval activity in Australian waters during World War II, and are the only occasion in history when either city has come under attack. The physical effects were slight: the Japanese had intended to destroy several major warships, but sank only an unarmed depot ship and failed to damage any significant targets during the bombardments. The main impact was psychological; creating popular fear of an impending Japanese invasion and forcing the Australian military to upgrade defences, including the commencement of convoy operations to protect merchant shipping.

Bathurst-class corvette

The Bathurst-class corvettes were a class of general purpose vessels produced in Australia during World War II. Originally classified as minesweepers, but widely referred to as corvettes, the Bathurst-class vessels fulfilled a broad anti-submarine, anti-mine, and convoy escort role.

Sixty Bathurst-class corvettes were built in eight Australian shipyards to an Australian design. 36 were constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), 20 were built on British Admiralty orders but manned and commissioned by the RAN, and 4 served in the Royal Indian Navy. Three more were ordered for construction in India, but were cancelled. Although designed for the anti-submarine and anti-mine role, the Bathursts operated as "maids-of-all-work" during the war; serving as troop and supply transports, supporting amphibious landings, providing air defence for convoys and disabled ships, participating in shore bombardments, and undertaking hydrographic surveys. Three ships were lost during the war—one to Japanese air attack and two to collisions with friendly merchant ships—while a fourth struck a friendly mine while sweeping the Great Barrier Reef in 1947 and sank.

After the war, the Admiralty ships were sold to the Turkish Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, and civilian operators, while several RAN-owned vessels were transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy, temporarily reactivated to facilitate National Service Training, or sold to civilians. Four of the Netherlands Bathursts were sold onward to the Indonesian Navy, one of which was destroyed in 1956 by rebels opposing the 'Guided Democracy' political system. The rest of the RAN and Admiralty ships were sold for scrap to help fund other projects. Two vessels are preserved as museum ships.

Fleet Air Arm Museum (Australia)

The Australian Fleet Air Arm Museum, formerly known as Australia's Museum of Flight, is a military aerospace museum located at the naval air station HMAS Albatross, near Nowra, New South Wales. The museum was opened in 1990, although efforts to preserve artifacts related to Australia's naval aviation history began in 1974. The museum houses aircraft used throughout the history of the Fleet Air Arm, the naval aviation branch of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), along with other aircraft of relevance to Australia's aviation history, and memorabilia relating to Australian aircraft carriers. The museum includes 34 aircraft and helicopters in its collection. It is open to the public daily, except for major public holidays. The museum building is also home to Albatross Aero Club.

Garden Island (New South Wales)

Garden Island is an inner-city locality of Sydney, Australia, and the location of a major Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base. It is located to the north-east of the Sydney central business district and juts out into Port Jackson, immediately to the north of the suburb of Potts Point. Used for government and naval purposes since the earliest days of the colony of Sydney, it was originally a completely-detached island but was joined to the Potts Point shoreline by major land reclamation work during World War II.

Garden Island today forms a major part of the RAN's Fleet Base East. It includes active dockyards (including the Captain Cook Graving Dock), naval wharves and a naval heritage and museum precinct. Approximately half of the major fleet units of the RAN use the wharves as their home port.

The northern tip of Garden Island is open to the public and contains the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre museum and an outdoor heritage precinct. Immediately south and above Garden Island on the Potts Point ridgeline is HMAS Kuttabul, the RAN's major administrative, training and logistics support establishment for the Sydney area. Although HMAS Kuttabul is administratively a separate facility to Garden Island, the two names are often referred to interchangeably.

Garden Island ferry wharf

Garden Island ferry wharf is located on the southern side of Sydney Harbour. It serves the Royal Australian Navy's Heritage Centre, Garden Island.

HMAS Australia (1911)

HMAS Australia was one of three Indefatigable-class battlecruisers built for the defence of the British Empire. Ordered by the Australian government in 1909, she was launched in 1911, and commissioned as flagship of the fledgling Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1913. Australia was the only capital ship ever to serve in the RAN.At the start of World War I, Australia was tasked with finding and destroying the German East Asia Squadron, which was prompted to withdraw from the Pacific by the battlecruiser's presence. Repeated diversions to support the capture of German colonies in New Guinea and Samoa, as well as an overcautious Admiralty, prevented the battlecruiser from engaging the German squadron before the latter's destruction. Australia was then assigned to North Sea operations, which consisted primarily of patrols and exercises, until the end of the war. During this time, Australia was involved in early attempts at naval aviation, and 11 of her personnel participated in the Zeebrugge Raid. The battlecruiser was not at the Battle of Jutland, as she was undergoing repairs following a collision with sister ship HMS New Zealand. Australia only ever fired in anger twice: at a German merchant vessel in January 1915, and at a suspected submarine contact in December 1917.

On her return to Australian waters, several sailors aboard the warship mutinied after a request for an extra day's leave in Fremantle was denied, although other issues played a part in the mutiny, including minimal leave during the war, problems with pay, and the perception that Royal Navy personnel were more likely to receive promotions than Australian sailors. Post-war budget cuts saw Australia's role downgraded to a training ship before she was placed in reserve in 1921. The disarmament provisions of the Washington Naval Treaty required the destruction of Australia as part of the British Empire's commitment, and she was scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1924.

HMAS Parramatta (D55)

HMAS Parramatta, named after the Parramatta River, was a River-class torpedo-boat destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Ordered in 1909 for the Commonwealth Naval Forces (the predecessor of the RAN), Parramatta was the first ship launched for the RAN. Temporarily commissioned into the Royal Navy for the delivery voyage to Australia, the destroyer came under Australian naval control in 1910, and was recommissioned into the RAN on 1 March 1911, shortly before the latter's formal creation.

After the beginning of the First World War in 1914 until 1917, Parramatta was conducted patrols in the Pacific and South-East Asia, before she and her sister ships were transferred to the Mediterranean for anti-submarine operations. She returned to Australia in 1919 and was placed in reserve. Apart from a brief period of full commission during the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1920, Parramatta remained in reserve until 1928. She was fully decommissioned in 1928, stripped of parts, and sold for use as prisoner accommodation on the Hawkesbury River. After changing hands several times, the hull ran aground during a gale in 1933, and was left to rust. In 1973, the bow and stern sections were salvaged, and converted into memorials.

HMAS Protector (1884)

HMCS (later HMAS) Protector was a large flat-iron gunboat commissioned and purchased by the South Australian government in 1884, for the purpose of defending the local coastline against possible attacks in the aftermath of the 'Russian scare', of the 1870s. She arrived in Adelaide in September 1884 and subsequently served in the Boxer Rebellion, World War I and World War II.

During July 1943, Protector was requisitioned for war service by the U.S. Army. On the way to New Guinea and off Gladstone, she was damaged in a collision with a tug and abandoned. The hull was subsequently taken to Heron Island off the Queensland coast and later sunk for use as a breakwater. Her rusting remains are still visible to this day.

HMAS Stalwart (H14)

HMAS Stalwart (H14) was an Admiralty S class destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Built for the Royal Navy during World War I, the ship was not completed until 1919, and spent less than eight months in British service before being transferred to the RAN at the start of 1920. The destroyer's career was uneventful, with almost all of it spent operating along the east coast of Australia. Stalwart was decommissioned at the end of 1925, was sold for ship breaking in 1937, then was scuttled in 1939.

History of the Royal Australian Navy

The history of the Royal Australian Navy traces the development of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from the colonisation of Australia by the British in 1788. Until 1859, vessels of the Royal Navy made frequent trips to the new colonies. In 1859, the Australia Squadron was formed as a separate squadron and remained in Australia until 1913. Until Federation, five of the six Australian colonies operated their own colonial naval force, which formed on 1 March 1901 the Australian Navy's (AN) Commonwealth Naval Force which received Royal patronage in July 1911 and was from that time referred to as Royal Australian Navy (RAN). On 4 October 1913 the new replacement fleet for the foundation fleet of 1901 steamed through Sydney Heads for the first time.

The Royal Australian Navy has seen action in every ocean of the world. It first saw action in World War I, in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. Between the wars the RAN's fortunes shifted with the financial situation of Australia: it experienced great growth during the 1920s, but was forced to reduce its fleet and operations during the 1930s. Consequently, when it entered World War II, the RAN was smaller than it had been at the start of World War I. During the course of World War II, the RAN operated more than 350 fighting and support ships; a further 600 small civilian vessels were put into service as auxiliary patrol boats. (Contrary to some claims, however, the RAN was not the fifth-largest navy in the world at any point during World War II.)

Following World War II, the RAN saw action in Korea, Vietnam, and other smaller conflicts. Today, the RAN consists of a small but modern force, widely regarded as one of the most powerful forces in the Asia Pacific Region.

List of museums in Sydney

Sydney, Australia is home to a large number of cultural institutions, museums and historic sites, some of which are known worldwide. This list contains the most famous:

To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.

List of submarine museums

This is a list of museums that include submarines that can either be toured or viewed on display.

Military history of Australia

The military history of Australia spans the nation's 230-year modern history, from the early Australian frontier wars between Aboriginals and Europeans to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 21st century. Although this history is short when compared to that of many other nations, Australia has been involved in numerous conflicts and wars, and war and military service have been significant influences on Australian society and national identity, including the Anzac spirit. The relationship between war and Australian society has also been shaped by the enduring themes of Australian strategic culture and its unique security dilemma.

As British offshoots, the Australian colonies participated in Britain's small wars of the 19th century, while later as a federated dominion, and then an independent nation, Australia fought in the First World War and Second World War, as well as in the wars in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam during the Cold War. In the Post-Vietnam era Australian forces have been involved in numerous international peacekeeping missions, through the United Nations and other agencies, including in the Sinai, Persian Gulf, Rwanda, Somalia, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, as well as many overseas humanitarian relief operations, while more recently they have also fought as part of multi-lateral forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In total, nearly 103,000 Australians died during the course of these conflicts.

SMS Emden

SMS Emden ("His Majesty's Ship Emden") was the second and final member of the Dresden class of light cruisers built for the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine). Named for the town of Emden, she was laid down at the Kaiserliche Werft (Imperial Dockyard) in Danzig in 1906. Her hull was launched in May 1908, and completed in July 1909. She had one sister ship, Dresden. Like the preceding Königsberg-class cruisers, Emden was armed with ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and two torpedo tubes.

Emden spent the majority of her career overseas in the German East Asia Squadron, based in Tsingtao, in the Kiautschou Bay concession in China. In 1913, she came under the command of Karl von Müller, who would captain the ship during World War I. At the outbreak of hostilities, Emden captured a Russian steamer and converted her into the commerce raider Cormoran. Emden rejoined the East Asia Squadron, after which she was detached for independent raiding in the Indian Ocean. The cruiser spent nearly two months operating in the region, and captured nearly two dozen ships. On October 28, 1914, Emden launched a surprise attack on Penang; in the resulting Battle of Penang, she sank the Russian cruiser Zhemchug and the French destroyer Mousquet.

Müller then took Emden to raid the Cocos Islands, where he landed a contingent of sailors to destroy British facilities. There, Emden was attacked by the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney on 9 November 1914. The more powerful Australian ship quickly inflicted serious damage and forced Müller to run his ship aground to prevent her from sinking. Out of a crew of 376, 133 were killed in the battle. Most of the survivors were taken prisoner; the landing party, led by Hellmuth von Mücke, commandeered an old schooner and eventually returned to Germany. Emden's wreck was quickly destroyed by wave action, and was broken up for scrap in the 1950s.

Shellite (explosive)

Shellite (known as Tridite in US service) is an explosive mixture of picric acid and dinitrophenol or picric acid and hexanitrodiphenylamine in a ratio of 70/30. It was typically used as a filling in Royal Navy armour-piercing shells during the early part of the 20th century.

Ships and

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