‘Remembering AE1’ … a deceptively simple title that invites a sense of reflection and commemoration. This was the topic set before Year 9 history students in a national speech competition to help mark 101 years since AE1, Australia’s first submarine, disappeared with all hands at the start of World War I, never to be found. The occasion to deliver that speech would be the unveiling ceremony of Warren Langley’s wonderful artwork ‘…The Ocean Bed their Tomb’, a stainless steel wreath sculpture that now hovers over the water outside the museum.
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.
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.
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.
On 14 September 1914 the 55 metre submarine HMAS AE1 disappeared with all hands, 35 Australian and British sailors, while patrolling German waters off Duke of York Island in present day Papua New Guinea.
On 14 September this year, 101 years on, a major art installation will be unveiled at the Australian National Maritime Museum to commemorate the loss in a work entitled ‘…the ocean bed their tomb’. The work is currently under construction at the workshop of the artist Warren Langley where descendants of those officers and crew, submariners and naval historians gathered recently to view it.
Have you noticed the construction work outside the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour? Work is well underway on our new Action Stations experience – an amazing visitor facility on the museum’s wharf between our ex-Navy submarine and destroyer, opening in November 2015.
Scott Brewer from Art Processors attended our recent #warshipbootcamp – here’s what he had to say…
Over the 27th and 28th of August I was invited to attend a workshop held at the Australian National Maritime Museum to discuss education. Really we were there to discuss the possibilities created by a new pavilion being built to honour the Royal Australian Navy and based around the three largest warships held by the Museum: the Daring class destroy, Vampire; the Oberon class submarine, Onslow; and the Attack class patrol boat, Advance. I wasn’t too sure what my offering to the workshop would be, I’ve never worked in education, by trade I still consider myself a software developer (that’s what I put on the customs form whenever I leave the country, although to be fair I definitely manage more than code these days) and I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to provide much insight. To be honest I’m not sure how much insight I was able to provide others, but I can thank them immensely for the insight they were able to offer me.
The workshop itself was split into two days, the first more of an introduction: of ourselves to each other; of the warship project as a whole; and of an overview of where technology is (likely) heading over the coming years. Armed with all of this information day 2 was an opportunity to split into groups and investigate ways that we could use a marriage of technology to the physical presence of the ships to encourage new ways of educating and engaging with future visitors. To achieve this we split into four groups, each focusing on a single part of the new experience (the three warships and a space within the new pavilion).
We were interested in looking at ways the vessels can offer a better educational experience. What really started to become clear to me was the similarities of building a technology platform and delivering an educational experience and some of the benefits that may be obtained by thinking about the two in a similar vein.
At the heart of both elements lies the content. Whether you’re talking about mobile applications or website, you’re discussing different methods for viewing and engaging with content. With education you’re talking about best ways to get children to engage with and learn from content. In both instances while the delivery methods and techniques may fall in and out of favour it is the content that remains constant. The teachers screaming for websites ten years ago, and now crying out for apps will, ten years from now be requesting that their students need the latest method to deliver this content and keep them focused and engaged (and learning!).
So why is this important? For both technology and education it seems vital that over time you can recover investments made into frameworks and methodologies for content delivery. If you’re designing a technology platform and you want to make sure you’re not washing money down the drain you want to be able to make sure you can maximise the re-use of the system in the future. An example will be making sure your data is kept clean in a CMS that is decoupled from the viewing mechanism (web site, app, glass, etc.). Similarly there was a lot of discussion about the breadth of school groups that arrive searching for content, various groups have differing ideas of how to best reach their students. Keeping things nicely de-coupled allows for this to take place. Similarly for education you want to be able to remain up to date and interesting to the students whilst delivering content that itself may not have changed for decades. Obviously the ultimate delivery method for this, and this is what became quite clear during the workshop, is the onsite educator. Their ability to think quickly to alter their course material to suit the pupil can be the biggest difference between a trip to the museum and a great trip to the museum. Technology or concepts will always find it difficult to match this on their own, but they can go a huge way to helping make these experiences even better and that’s the goal of what we’re really trying to achieve right?
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own fields that we have a difficult time seeing the commonalities between what it is we do on a day to day basis and what others are striving for in their own work. What became apparent over the course of the workshop was that there is much more in common with how Art Processors encourage people to think about technology and how educators look at education. In both instances we’re using a tool to engage someone with the knowledge trapped inside a physical medium so it shouldn’t be such a surprise to me that a commonality exists between the two fields, hopefully, through further collaboration, we can start to benefit from each other’s expertise to create improved experiences for those we’re hoping to help. As I said, I’m not sure how much insight I was able to offer these experts about technology, but I sure am grateful for the insights they were able to offer me into education. Let’s hope that together they can benefit the people they were aimed to benefit – teachers and their students.
Thanks Scott – your insights into the two days gratefully received! Go here for more about our #warshipbootcamp.
Yesterday and today we are meeting with a bunch of interesting folks to look at what curriculum material we could develop for our massive new program – the Warships Pavilion. This ambitious project to develop an amazing new visitor facility on our wharf between HMAS Onslow and HMAS Vampire will feature highly interactive experiences that will reinvigorate our visitors’ relationships with our vessels, the waterfront and the broader museum precinct.
The warships experience is comprised of two interrelating components – the construction of a building (referred to as the pavilion) and the development of new interpretation for the vessels (referred to as the experience). The experience development seeks to bring the stories of our vessels to life and significantly enliven the visitors’ experience of our Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessels. The experience seeks to be BOLD, UNIQUE and CONFRONTING.
Interesting and thoughtful presentation from Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) staff about the history and technology national curriculum were followed by Jack Ludden from the J Paul Getty Institute taking us on a journey through cool online resources and the New Media Consortium Horizon reports, with an emphasison the K-12 report; the 2014 Library Edition and the 2013 Museum Edition.
We started a Twitter hashtag #warshipbootcamp where we are posting thoughts, images, resources links so follow us and join the conversation!
More to follow…
I’ve walked through our Oberon-class submarine many times. Before the visitors arrive, it’s quiet. You can hear the creaking of the ropes that secure the sub to the wharf, and sometimes the far away voices of people in Darling Harbour. Remnants of life onboard remain – the boardgames in the mess, the roster on the wall and the ingredients in the kitchen – settled and silent. I’ve also been onboard the patrol boat Advance and climbed up and down from the bridge to the kitchen, avoiding its sharp corners and examining the menacing-looking Bofors guns on deck. I’ve walked onboard our destroyer HMAS Vampire many times before too. It smells like the 70s. There’s linoleum throughout, a faint scent of oil and what might be the remaining tendrils of thousands of cooked dinners served in the mess. There’s a sense of chasing someone else’s long-forgotten memories down the lengthy corridors and through the maze of tunnels and ladders.
In the past nine months, in the course of researching these three vessels, I’ve also spent many hours speaking with naval personnel about their time serving on HMAS Onslow, Advance and Vampire. Through their stories, photographs and records, I got glimpses of three very alive, very dangerous and very exciting worlds. One submariner described to me the sounds that the ocean makes when it wakes in the morning, how you can hear the animals stir and react to the sun the same way that birds do at dawn. Another described the feeling, through your feet, of the submarine dashing away from the surface and diving beneath the waves. It sounded to me like the feeling of taking off in a small airplane – just going in the other direction. One ex-submarine commander talked sparingly of his involvement in covert operations onboard Oberon submarines, responding to our questions with silence and a smile.