Welcome Wall May 2018

358 names were added to the Welcome Wall during a ceremony on Sunday 6 May 2018. It is the 79th bronze panel added to the Wall and there are now almost 30,000 names on the Wall, which celebrates Australia's waves of migration. Image: Andrew Frolows/ANMM.

358 names were added to the Welcome Wall during a ceremony on Sunday 6 May 2018. It is the 79th bronze panel added to the Wall and there are now almost 30,000 names on the Wall, which celebrates Australia’s waves of migration. Image: Andrew Frolows/ANMM.

Last weekend the much-loved sports journalist and soccer broadcaster, Les Murray, was honoured by his family to have his name unveiled on the museum’s Welcome WallThe Welcome Wall pays tribute to the migrants who have travelled the world to call Australia home. More than 200 countries are represented on the Welcome Wall, which faces Darling Harbour and Pyrmont Bay, where many migrants arrived in Australia. 

358 names were added to the Welcome Wall during Sunday’s ceremony including families from the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Germany, Malta, Hungary, Ireland, South Africa, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Poland, The Netherlands, China, India, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Latvia, Slovenia, Turkey, Argentina, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Indonesia, Lebanon, Macedonia, New Zealand, Portugal, USA, Austria, Denmark, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Namibia, Russia, Spain and Zambia. It is the 79th bronze panel added to the Wall and there are now almost 30,000 names on the Wall.

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The Last Dance

Join the staff and volunteers of the Australian National Maritime Museum as our collection comes to life in the spirit of Museum Dance Off 2018. With a guest appearance from Sydney Heritage Fleet, come aboard our tall ships, below deck of the submarine HMAS Onslow, conga through our outdoor Containers exhibition and much more. Still: Kate Pentecost/ANMM.

Join the staff and volunteers of the Australian National Maritime Museum as our collection comes to life in the spirit of Museum Dance Off 2018. Still: Kate Pentecost/ANMM.

Museum Dance Off 2018

We are a passionate bunch here at the Australian National Maritime Museum. We preserve and bring to life Australia’s maritime history, through exhibitions, public programs and even this blog, but rarely do we use dance as our primary communication medium.

Until now…

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Drebbel’s submarine

Inventor of the first navigable submarine, Cornelius Drebbel died 7 November 1633. Drebbel was born in the Netherlands in 1572 and while working with the English Royal Navy, became well known for his work in chemistry, optics, measurement and even dabbled in the dye industry.

Cornelius Drebbel

Cornelius Drebbel

Drebbel had a basic education and was originally a painter and engravers apprentice, until his interest in inventions attracted the attention of King James I, who invited him to England. During his time there he presented many of his ideas and inventions to the court, including his famous perpetual motion machine that told the time, date and season.

It was around this time that Drebbel began working on his submarine. The vessel appears to have been based on a row boat design, and had a wooden frame completely covered in waterproof leather. Pigskin bladders connected to pipes leading out of the cabin controlled depth; to dive the bladders were filled with water by releasing a rope that controlled the opening and closing of the pipes. In order to surface, the rowers squeezed all the water out of the bladders and tied them off with rope again. This enabled the submarine to safely dive to depths of 4 to 5 metres.

Drebbel's submarine

Drebbel’s submarine

The vessel was steered by a rudder, and powered by four oars which were fed into the water through leather seals. Air tubes led from the cabin to the waters surface and were kept in place by the use of floats – submarine was able to be underwater for several hours at a time.

Drebbel’s submarine was tested several times, and it was reported that even King James I was on board during one of the tests, becoming the first monarch to travel under water! However, the submarine appears to have been well ahead of its time and was not of any interest to the English Royal Navy.

This design and the capabilities of Drebbel’s submarine are a far cry from that of the Oberon-class submarine, HMAS Onslow, which is permanently on display to the public at the museum. She was commissioned during the cold war (1968) and served Australia for 30 years before coming to the Australian National Maritime Museum in 1999.

HMAS Onslow during service

HMAS Onslow during service

The Onslow is 90 metres long and powered by V16 diesel generators. Her motor provides 3,500 brake horsepower and 4,500 shaft horsepower, which allows speeds of up to 12 knots (22km per hour) on the surface and 17 knots (31km per hour) when submerged.  Onslow’s maximum range was 9000 nautical miles (17000km) at 12 knots, and a depth of 200 metres. She was able to carry 64 – 68 personnel, plus an additional 16 trainees.

During service she carried six 21 inch bow torpedo tubes, which could fire torpedos or deploy sea mines, in addition to anti-ship missiles, and further stern mounted torpedo tubes for use against other submarines.

HMAS Onslow today

HMAS Onslow today

You can find more information about Onslow HERE.

Siobhan McKenna

References and further reading:

Brough, Neil. Onslow in dry dock 2002″ (PDF). Signals, Sydney, NSW: Australian National Maritime Museum, 2003.

Shaw, Lindsey. HMAS Onslow: cold war warrior. Sydney, NSW: Australian National Maritime Museum, 2005.

16/10/2008 Day One, the Journey

Former H.M.A.S. Onslow alongside at Darling Harbour

Former H.M.A.S. Onslow alongside at Darling Harbour

The smiles were shining from all as fleet staff rolled in this morning. A mix of relief and the anticipation fed the high spirits. Relief that the occasionally strained contract negotiations with Thales, whose skilled work force will conduct the majority of the dockings tasks, had yesterday, been sealed with the flurry of a pen and a hand shake. The anticipation, for most of us, came from the action to come. Released from the constraints of working in the public domain of the museum, we could focus on the material welfare of the submarine and the exercise of some of our skills and knowledge that had been held in check. Others anticipated a leisurely cruise on a faultless Spring morning.

Navy piolt and assistants on the submaine's bridge

Navy pilot and assistants on the submarine bridge

There had been months of work preparing the sub for this day. Warwick Thompson had been crawling about amongst the tangle of pipe below the casings. With torch and note pad his inspection of the sub’s tanks and innards are the foundation of the scope of work to be conducted in the coming month. I myself had spent countless hours in strange yogic positions undoing hundreds of bolts so as to free the casings. Everyone had contributed. We had prepared, but on seeing the authoritative stride, black’ n ’whites and scrambled-egged caps of the navy pilot’s entourage, I returned to an unexpected place. Every muscle tensed a little, that whole of being feeling as you left port, like the first day of school only more solemn.

The DMS ( Defence Maritime Services ) tugs positioned themselves fore and aft and her lines drawn aboard. Our pilot, by close inspection, assures himself of their security and then takes his position aloft on the tiny bridge way up in the fin. Radio communication is tested between both lines parties, fore and aft, and the bridge. We all wait and then wait a little longer, a car carrier is coming into port. The delay seems too much for the mass of well wishers on the heritage pontoon and they disperse, perhaps they can no longer bare saying farewell? Then a scramble of activity as the tugs’ lines creak taught and the sub’s let go. A close eye is kept on the closing gap between the destroyer and sub as she turned to head out the harbour proper. Finally a miraculous turn is brought off by the forward tug, much like seeing a front rower morph into Rudolf Nuereyev, as he repositions from a push to tow.

DMS tug boats moving Onslow through Darling Harbour

DMS tug boats moving Onslow through Darling Harbour

Thanks to the skill of or navy pilot and the DMS skippers all goes smoothly on our approach to Garden Island dock yard. Once Onslow is tied up along side we secure all means of entry and leave her for the night. The museum staff will now begin the formidable task of induction into the dockyard work area, a process that in total will take a full day of instruction and evaluation.

A perfect day, a perfect harbour, a perfect tow

A perfect day, a perfect harbour, a perfect tow