The Australian White Ensign and its connection with HMAS Vampire

HMAS <em>Vampire</em> flying the Australian White Ensign in 1967. Image: Navy Historic Archive. HMAS Vampire II.

HMAS Vampire (II) flying the Australian White Ensign in 1967. Image: Navy Historic Archive.

Flags are everywhere. We see them flying from government and corporate buildings, from ships and cars, at sporting events, and during festivals. They all mean something whether it be identifying a country or business, or marking the end of a marathon. This month marked the anniversary of one of Australia’s most significant flags – the Australian White Ensign (AWE), first flown on 1 March 1967.

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Using Twitter to Explore Our Museum

Tour the museum via tweets. Images: ANMM.

Tour the museum via tweets. Images: ANMM.

The Australian National Maritime Museum site on the waterfront here at Darling Harbour is not your usual museum. We have exhibition galleries inside the museum as well as historic vessels which you can come aboard such as the HMB Endeavour Replica, navy destroyer HMAS Vampire and submarine HMAS Onslow.

There is a lot to explore, especially if you are a teacher visiting with a busload of school students. To help teachers become familiar with our site and prepare for school excursions we created an Orientation Tour For Visiting Teachers.

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How to make…a buttercream battleship or delicious destroyer cake

There are many things that come to mind when you think of a warship. Big guns, secret missions, white uniforms, badges, officers, ranks, commands and coded ciphers. Buttercream frosting? Not so much.

This month’s craft spot is inspired by none other than our new Action Stations experience, just launched. In much the same way (and not the same way at all) as how Action Stations is all about making the experience of our navy vessels more surprising, immersive and delicious, making an edible delectable destroyer or battleship cake embraces a little something of the surprising (a sweet and squishy rendition of a mean machine), the immersive (you enjoy its appearance, eat it up and experience all the goodness it has to offer) and the delicious — of course. And perhaps it’s also a good way to celebrate and salute to all things navy and nautical, just as we are doing every Family Fun Sunday this month.

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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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Warwick Hood AO 1932–2015

Dame Pattie full sail - photo by Douglas Baglin

Dame Pattie under full sail – Photographer Douglas Baglin 00029529 ANMM Collection

Naval architect Warwick Hood AO passed away at Erina on the NSW Central Coast early in July, shortly before his 83rd birthday. To the general public and the yachting scene in particular he was well recognised and highly respected as the designer of Australia’s second America’s Cup challenger, the International 12-Metre class yacht Dame Pattie. This design was very significant in its own right, but was a part of Hood’s long career in naval architecture that was also filled with remarkably varied work that reflects wide interests along with an ability to manage diverse marine projects.

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New Action Stations experience coming to Darling Harbour

Artist's impression of the ANMM's new Warship's Pavilion

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.

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National Science Week at the Museum

National Science Week 2014 is fast approaching and it will be a week packed full of discovery, experiments and adventure for all ages. SO, if you seek to learn new things, try something different and above all, have a fantastic fun-filled time, then the museum is for you.

Open to all Apple users, (just present the Tag Town app at our front of house desk for entry): ‘Hide, Seek, Dive and Peek @Anmmuseum’ is on from 16th of August to the 19th of August.  Users can start playing “Tag Town” – a photographic scavenger hunt where pictures lead players, assisted by GPS, to discover real locations. Played in the real world via mobile app, players swipe through the image clues on their mobile device and when they find the location in the real-world, they snap and upload their own photo of it. Tag Town taps into the fun and creativity of photography and builds an expanding collection of shared photos of the local area’s most interesting features and locations.

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Warships, storyworlds and the story so far

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.

HMAS VAMPIRE at sea, image courtesy of the Sea Power Centre Australia

HMAS VAMPIRE at sea, image courtesy of the Sea Power Centre Australia

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A fine wardroom dinner

Last Saturday night a convivial group of 17 gathered for a night of naval tradition and custom under the watchful eye of a Presdient and Vice-President. Where were we? In the wardroom of the museum’s Daring class destroyer HMAS Vampire.

Jule and David Manolas came up from Canberra for the dinner

Once a year museum members have the opportunity to partake of a three-course meal in this special part of the museum. Dressed in black tie and evening frocks we made a fine looking group. Our President for the evening was Rear Admiral Simon Harrington AM RAN Ret’d who is a former member of the museum council; he was ably assisted by Mr Vice – Captain Neville Teague RAN, Chief Staff Officer (Support).

CAPT Neville Teague was Mr Vice for our evening on board HMAS Vampire

For three hours we were transfixed as we learned of the traditions of the officers’ wardroom – traditions that date back hundreds of years to the Royal Navy; traditions which remain with the Commonwealth navies, including of course our own Royal Australian Navy.

The Admiral and Mr Vice explained the rules of the evening (including any fines which may be warranted for unacceptable behaviour!), Grace was given by Mr Vice and the gavel was sounded as required, primarily to get our attention as there were quite a few interesting conversations going on around the table. The loyal toast was given, port was passed and all in all it was a fantastic evening.

RADM Harrington and his wife Kathy

Admiral Harrington and Captain Teague spoke of their times at sea and these personal stories really added to the evening – we are very grateful they were able to preside over the events of this fine mess dinner. Discipline was maintained and we finished the evening in good humour!

Keep an eye out for our next mess dinner – I guarantee it will be worth it.

Lindsey Shaw, senior curator

Photography competition winners announced!

To celebrate the museum’s 20th anniversary on 29 November 2011, we launched a photographic competition inviting visitors to share their museum moments from the past 20 years.

We received some fantastic entries from visitors across Australia, including a number of photos from Endeavour‘s  current circumnavigation voyage. Below we feature the winning entries. Congratulations to Jacob, Sophie and Mitchell!

If you would like to view more of the entries, check out our Flickr page.

The winning photographs, along with a selection of other entries will feature in an upcoming issue of Australian Photography magazine and the next issue of Signals, the museum’s quarterly publication.

What’s your favourite photo? Tell us in the comments below or on Flickr, we’d love to know!

Winning entries

Overall best photograph and category winner of From your archives – photographs from 1991 – 1999

200 degree view of ANMM from Batavia by Jacob R NSW

Jacob R. (NSW) Taken: December 1999
200 Degrees Darling Harbour from Batavia’s Mainmast.

Category winner of New memories – Photographs from 2000 – 2012

Endeavour at full sail by Sophie M WA

Sophie M. (WA) Taken: 13 October 2011
This photo is of HMB Endeavour firing its canon in respect as it circled the Leeuwin on its ways into Fremantle Harbour.

Category winner of Kids only! – Photographs taken by children 16 years and younger

HMAS Vampire artillery by Mitchell K NSW

Mitchell K. (NSW) Taken: July 2011
A view of the artillery on HMAS Vampire.

Work experience with the fleet team

My name is Joel and I’m a 16 year old from Picnic Point High School. Over the past week I have been doing some work experience at the Australian National Maritime Museum as a way to learn more about my hopeful career in the Navy. For the past week I have been observing and helping, where I can, the fleet crew and numerous volunteers. The people have been so helpful, welcoming and willing to share their vast knowledge with me.

Joel onboard Advance

Joel onboard patrol vessel Advance

I spent my first day working on a World War II raider ship cleaning, learning different knots and rope techniques, as well as getting to know everyone there. There’s a really interesting history to the ship and the guys were very welcoming and a lot of fun.

The next day I spent most of my time on HMAS Onslow submarine and HMAS Vampire destroyer with the guys that keep it running and the volunteers that run the tours and share their knowledge with visitors and me, as some of them are themselves ex-Navy.

Joel helping place the gangway to RV Whale Song

Joel helping place the gangway to RV Whale Song

I have spent some time learning the unique and interesting history behind the vessels I have been working on. I have experienced how dockyards work when observing the mast of Thistle, a ship from the 1900’s, being unstepped and craned up to the docks for further restoration. Later that day the fleet manager Phil took me around the harbour on a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) to see some of the Naval ports and stations. As this was one of my first real maritime experience, it was a lot of fun. I will also be accompanying an old Navy patrol vessel across the harbour, which will be a memorable experience.

I also got to have a look around the museum and the other Navy patrol boats learning all the maritime rules and little techniques from the shipwrights and workers. It has been a great and rewarding experience and I would like to say thank you to everyone that helped me: Phillip McKendrick, Jim, Jeff, Michael, Peter, Lee, Ben, Joe, Warrick, all the volunteers, and Gemma who made it possible for me to spend time here.


20 years of the Australian National Maritime Museum

Today the museum celebrates its 20th anniversary!

We’d like to thank you all for your support over the years.

Here’s to the next 20!

Hope you enjoy the video…

Sustainable seafood – do you have a recipe?

Tom Kime Fish & Co

Tom Kime, Fish & Co Chef

On 19 October the museum is holding a sustainable seafood event on the helideck of HMAS Vampire as part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. It’s sure to be a taste sensation, with chef Tom Kime from Fish & Co creating the menu for the night. But, we hear you asking…

What is sustainable seafood?

According to the Australian Marine Conservation Society, ‘three quarters of the world’s oceans are already officially over-exploited or fished right up to their limit’. Sustainable fishing aims to lessen this impact on our oceans and fish species by using more sustainable methods of fishing. The Marine Stewardship Council is a not for profit organisation that is currently setting standards in regards to these methods and sustainable best practice through which fisheries can be certified sustainable.

Make informed choices

The Australian Marine Conservation Society recently launched a sustainable seafood guide to help us make wiser decisions when it comes to consuming seafood. There is also a mobile app, which is handy when you’re out and about.

Sustainable seafood recipes

With these resources we can get creative in the kitchen with more informed seafood choices. There are a lot of tasty recipes on the Marine Stewardship Council website that you might like to check out, but here’s a super easy salmon pattie recipe that I like to make.

Do you have a sustainable seafood recipe? Share your recipe in the comments section to this post.

Salmon Patties
–   1 can Pink Salmon (The Sustainable Seafood Guide suggests that imported canned salmon from Canada and Alaska are generally from well managed fisheries)
–   1 large potato, boiled and slightly mashed
–   Juice from half a lemon
–   Small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
–   1 egg
–   Cracked black pepper
–   Breadcrumbs
–   Olive oil for pan frying

1.  Remove salmon from tin and remove any bones.
2.  Place salmon in mixing bowl and break into chunks.
3.  Add potato, lemon juice, parsley, pepper, and mix to combine.
4.  Add egg to mixture and combine. Add some breadcrumbs if mixture has become too wet.
5.  Make round balls from the mix and roll in breadcrumbs. About six cm in diameter.
6.  Place patties on a plate and refrigerate for about 20 mins to help the patties stay in shape.
7.  In a frypan, heat some oil over a medium to high heat to shallow fry the patties.
8.  Add the patties to the pan and rotate until all sides are golden brown. You can either keep the round ball shape or flatten with a spatula to make a flat pattie.
9.  Serve with some salad and tartare sauce. Delicious!

Sustainable seafood at sunset onboard HMAS Vampire
Date: 6.30-9.30pm Wednesday 19 October
Location: Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Cost: $75 or members $65.
Bookings essential: Phone +61 2 9298 3655, email or book online.