HMAS Vampire: ‘Some funny memories’

HMAS Vampire’s crew boarding at Williamstown after refit, 1971. Image Sea Power Centre – Australia

HMAS Vampire’s crew boarding at Williamstown after refit, 1971. Image Sea Power Centre – Australia

Terry Gaffney describes his experience serving on our ex-Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire. This blog post is part of a series written by sailors who served on the vessels inside our Action Stations Experience.

I have so many memories of my service aboard two daring class destroyers (HMAS Vampire and HMAS Vendetta). As a leading cook, basically same stories apply to both. We did some good missions of help aboard them, notably in 1974 whilst on Vendetta going to Darwin on a relief mission, but on both warships we rescued stranded boats and did other rescue ops.

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HMAS Vampire: ‘A trip of a lifetime’

Vampire in service

Phil McKendrick describes his experience serving on our ex-Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire. This blog post is part of a series written by sailors who served on the vessels inside our Action Stations Experience.

Here are some of my experiences on board HMAS Vampire from 1972 to 1976.
I was actually first posted to HMAS Sydney directly after my engineering course in July 1972. When we were getting prepared to take Sydney out of refit I was asked if I wanted to go to destroyers. I certainly wanted to serve on board a gun ship and volunteered.

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HMAS Vampire: ‘A machine like no other’

HMAS Vampire in 1966

HMAS Vampire at sea, 1966. Image Sea Power Centre – Australia

David Simpson describes his experience serving on our ex-Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire. This blog post is part of a series written by sailors who served on the vessels inside our Action Stations Experience.

I was nervous. I was 21 and it was my first time at sea.

Typical of the Navy, I had been trained to maintain the gunnery system on board but had been allocated as the offsider to the petty officer in charge of navigational aids –gyro compasses, plotting tables, echo sounders, signalling lamps, masthead obstruction lights – none of which I had been trained to maintain.

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Installing an ANMM exhibition in Indonesia

A dilapidated Fortress Benteng Vredeburg

A dilapidated Fortress Benteng Vredeburg c. 1970

The Black Armada (Armada Hitam) exhibition about Australian support for the early years of Indonesian independence just after WWII opened at the Australian National Maritime Museum on 20 August 2015. You can see the display in the Tasman Light gallery over the next few months. Black Armada is a collaboration with the Museum Benteng Vredeburg in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. A travelling version of the exhibition opened there on 31 August.

Mr Peter Dexter AM, Chairman of the Australian National Maritime Museum Council, Curator Dr Stephen Gapps, Indonesian Ambassador His Excellency Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema and Museum Director and CEO Kevin Sumption at the opening of Black Armada

Mr Peter Dexter AM, Chairman of the Australian National Maritime Museum Council, Curator Dr Stephen Gapps, Indonesian Ambassador His Excellency Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema and Museum Director and CEO Kevin Sumption at the opening of Black Armada on 20 August 2015. Photo: Andrew Frolows

As curator of the display, I travelled to Indonesia to assist in the installation and attend the opening. Working with an Indonesian museum has been an amazing insight into Indonesian museums, history and culture.

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The sailor prince

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and captain of HMAS Galatea

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and captain of HMS Galatea

1868 was a year of firsts in Australia — the first tsunami recorded in Sydney Harbour, the first recorded UFO sighting and the first tour of an Australian cricket team to England. But the arrival of the first royal visitor to Australia eclipsed all these and saw the Australian colonies become a heart-pounding, jostling competition of patriotism and devotion.

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Death, destruction and the Dunbar: Sydney’s worst maritime disaster

Illustration of the Dunbar in New East Indiaman, 1853

‘The Dunbar New East Indiaman’, Illustrated London News (24 December 1853). ANMM Collection, 00000957

The devastating wreck of the Dunbar on Sydney’s South Head on the evening of 20 August 1857, 158 years ago, was a disaster so appalling that it left a lasting emotional scar on the emerging colony of New South Wales.

In the pitch-darkness of that stormy winter’s night, Dunbar – only moments from safety at the end of an 81-day voyage from Plymouth carrying immigrants and well-to-do colonists returning to Sydney – missed the entrance to Port Jackson and crashed into the sheer sandstone cliffs just south of the heads. The heavy seas quickly pounded the ship to pieces, and all but one of at least 122 souls on board perished.

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Hangin’ out with Google Hangouts in National Science Week

Hanging out with Lloyd

Hanging out with Lloyd

As part of our National Science Week grant (funded by Inspiring Australia) we partnered with Google Australia to trial using hangouts to connect with schools. This is the first time in Australia that an external institution has been invited to use hangouts outside of the school system and, while there were some initial teething problems, the execution and experience that the students are having has been seamless, and fun! So far six schools from around Australia have dialled in to listen to our underwater adventurer in residence, Lloyd Godson, talk about the science of living under the sea (more about Lloyd’s work can be found here).

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Lloyd Godson: underwater adventurer in residence

Lloyd Godson underwater at Legoland

Lloyd Godson launched the LEGOLAND Year of Records 2010 by living in an underwater house in the LEGOLAND ATLANTIS by SEA LIFE aquarium. Photo courtesy LEGOLAND Deutschland.

There are few frontiers left on earth where humans have not left their mark. From the highest mountains to the deepest oceans, humankind has always sought to conquer the most formidable of places. Australia has its fair share of courageous water explorers—from solo-sailors like Kay Cottee AO to long distance swimmers and intrepid adventurers. As part of National Science Week the Australian National Maritime Museum is excited to be hosting one such adventurer: scientist and explorer Lloyd Godson.

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Seventy years of Indonesian independence

Black Armada_IDfinal_landscape

August 17 2015 is the 70th anniversary of Indonesia’s declaration of independence. The occupation of Indonesia by the Japanese during World War II had ended with the Japanese surrender on 15 August. A small group of nationalists swiftly chose the moment to proclaim independence.

The Dutch had controlled Indonesia for over 300 years before World War II and when the war ended, they wanted to return to their colony they called the Netherlands East Indies. They had fled to Australia at the advance of the Japanese in 1942 and established a government in exile. In 1945 the Dutch loaded ships with military arms and personnel and readied them to leave from Australian ports.

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Whale watching in Sydney Harbour

Whale watching in Sydney harbour

Whale watching in Sydney Harbour. Photo: David Payne.

In late July swimmers and paddlers (including my son) exercising at Balmoral Beach in Sydney Harbour found themselves sharing their early Saturday morning with a 14 metre long southern right whale (Eubaelena australis) only 50 metres from the shoreline and happily diving under them. The next day we watched from a distance in our kayaks as it spent hours in the deep-water trench just off nearby Chinaman’s Beach before heading west and into upper Middle Harbour, beyond the Spit Bridge.

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