Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A Visit to the Queensland Maritime Museum

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Queensland Maritime Museum, located on the Brisbane River, adjacent to Southbank Parklands, Brisbane.
I thought I would share some photos I took whilst I was there.

The site of the museum is centred around the historic Dry Dock, constructed in 1876.   During the Second World War  the Dock's importance came to the fore, as Brisbane became a major Allied Naval Base.    Nearly 50 ships of the Royal Australian Navy and nearly 100 United States warships, including submarines, were maintained/drydocked.
During it's operational career,  over 5000 ships used the facilities.

The museum itself showcases the HMAS Diamantina, a WW2 era River class frigate, the Light Ship "Carpentaria", the steam tug "Forceful" and numerous historical small craft.
In addition there are many exhibits of Naval and Maritime hardware, armament, ship models, ship's fittings and lighthouse exhibits.

HMAS Diamantina

Depth Charge Projectors and Racks on the AX of HMAS Diamantina.

Hammocks in the Stoker's Mess (Starboard side)

More modern day Bunks in the Stoker's Mess (Port side)
Diamantina would have been fitted with hammocks for the Junior Sailors during her service in WW2.   The bunks would have been fitted post 1959 as HMAS Melbourne (CVS 21) apparently, was the first ship in the RAN to have them.

One of Diamantina's two 4 inch Quick Firers.

A Mk V Twin Bofors 40/60 Anti Aircraft gun.   These guns were great to watch when firing as they fired a 40mm round at a rate of fire of 120-160 rounds per minute per barrel.   This was of course governed by the loading of the 4 round clips and they would start out in unison but then would fall out and fire alternately, just like in the war movies!

Of particular interest to my self were these two examples of "Big Iron".

These were the main armament of the Colonial Queensland ships, HMQS Gayundah and Paluma.

They are Mk VII 8 inch Breech Loaders.   Unfortunately, missing the breech closing mechanism.

Potted history of the two Queensland Gunboats.

Also on display are these two examples of 18th and 19th Century  ordinance.

They were sent out to Queensland in the early days of the Colony in order to provide some form of defence.   Of particular interest is that they were cast at the Iron Works at Carron, Falkirk, Scotland.   This town gave it's name to the Carronade, which was a powerful, short barrelled anti ship/personnel weapon much used by the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic era.

There are a number of plaques commemorating  Australian, French, Dutch and American ships as well as dockyard and Merchant Navy personnel that have had connections with the Dockyard during WW2.   
I was pleased to see this particular plaque as my Father served in a Fairmile during WW2, ML 810.

Commonwealth Lighthouse Service 2, a Carpentaria Light Ship.   One of four identical lighthouse ships, they were stationed in the Gulf of Carpentaria for much of their service careers, hence the name Carpentaria emblazoned on the hull.

Last of the major exhibits is the steam tug "Forceful".   Built in 1925, she was the last coal fired tug in operation in the Port of Brisbane working up to 1970.   Until fairly recently she was kept in working order but is now just a floating exhibit.   Unfortunately, her bridge appears to be missing which spoils her lines somewhat.

Inside the museum are many display cases full of Naval and Maritime ship models.
These are just a few examples of the Model Shipwright's craft.

HMAS Diamantina

HMAS Australia, a  WW2 County Class Cruiser.

The Paddle Steamer "Lucinda". 
Built in 1884 for the Queensland Government, she was used in a variety of roles, ranging from servicing Lighthouses on the Queensland coast, Ministerial visits, Flagship of the Queensland Yacht Squadron to Picnic excursions for school groups.
Sadly in 1923 she was sold and became a coal lighter.   In 1937 she was beached at the mouth of the Brisbane River to form a breakwater.   She had been cut down to a bare hull.

HMAS Bathurst.
Bathurst class corvettes were very similar in design and purpose to the Royal Navy's Flower Class Corvettes.   60 of these ships were built in Australia during WW2.   56 served with the Royal Australian Navy and the remaining 4 served with the Royal Indian Navy.

In all, a very interesting museum.   Friendly staff, good access for the most part, to the exhibits and good value for the price of admission.   I will definitely be going back again, just to get more pictures of the ship models!


  1. Cool post! Impressive models eh?

    1. Thanks Mate! It is a great little museum, I took a lot more photos than what I have shown on the blog and there are a lot more ship models to photograph too!