PYR06-05.jpg (69957 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Pyrmont

Australian National Maritime Museum


Philip Cox Richardson Taylor and Partners


Darling Harbour




Late 20th-Century Structuralist


steel truss vaults, floating barges
Land-based and floating Oceanarium with underwater walkways.


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The Australian National Maritime Museum, opened in 1991, was designed by Phillip Cox. The high walls and diving roof forms were designed to accommodate the masts of boats contained in the museum. The Museum also contains floating attractions including the ex-RAN Oberon class submarine Onslow, moored next to the Daring Class destroyer Vampire. Historic vessels visiting Sydney tie up here.
"The major NSW Bicentennial project for 1988 in Sydney was the Darling Harbour redevelopment. Cox's firm produced three major structures. Amid a veritable armada of tall buildings, the small, unusual, and exciting Sydney Aquarium looks like a beached whale or some prehistoric sea beast, shiny and full-scaled. It differs from all the other buildings in that it was a privately funded building and focuses on an activity below the water rather than on top! In fact it is part building, part barge. It has three sections: an earthbound display; an exhibition and visitor centre; and a restaurant. To its north are three floating and semi-submerged freely moving tanks in which an Oceanarium is situated, allowing spectators to walk literally through walkways surrounded by water, and varieties of sea life. The third structure, the Maritime Service Board Wharf No. 10, also to the north, houses the support services and labs. The tanks, looking like small barges or ships moored to the wharf are covered by fabric roofs hung from masts and steel cable, all of which further extend in terms of maritime metaphors. The sensation of walking in a boat rather than on hard land is an important feature of this enterprising exhibition."

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p398-9.

Sources on Sydney Maritime Museum

E. M. Farrelly. "Out of the Swing of the Sea, Darling", Architectural Review. April 1989, Vol 185 Number 1106. p63. drawing of site plan, p63. drawing of plan, p66.

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. exterior photos, p399. 

Jennifer Towndrow. "New Australian Functionalism." RIBA Journal. April 1989, Vol. 96, No. 4. Color photo of exterior, p40.

Lady Hopetoun
1902 VIP steam launch Lady Hopetoun

The Lady Hopetoun and Port Jackson Marine Steam Museum, the forerunner of the Sydney Heritage Fleet, was founded in 1965 by a group of public-spirited individuals to preserve Sydney’s 1902 VIP steam yacht Lady Hopetoun. The organisation later became known as the Sydney Maritime Museum Limited. In 1998 the museum adopted the trading name Sydney Heritage Fleet and in 2002, Australian Heritage Fleet. It reverted to its present name of Sydney Heritage Fleet in 2005. The Fleet now comprises 11 historical vessels which is amongst the largest such collection in Australia.

A community-based non-profit organisation, the Fleet’s mission is to: build and maintain an internationally recognised centre of excellence in maritime heritage for the benefit of all Australians by presenting through research, acquisition, conservation and operation, our continuing maritime history.

The Fleet is funded through donations, membership subscriptions, income from vessel charters and tours and the proceeds of Art Unions.

James Craig
1874 barque James Craig
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The Fleet’s 1500 strong membership and 650 dedicated volunteer workers restore, operate and maintain the fleet of vintage vessels. In the process they preserve traditional technical methods and skills.

1902 steam tug Waratah

The Fleet’s oldest vessel, the 1874 iron barque James Craig, has been fully restored and regularly puts to sea under full sail. The Fleet also operates three of the most historically significant vessels on Sydney Harbour: the 1902 steam tug Waratah, the 1902 VIP steam launch Lady Hopetoun and the 1903 schooner Boomerang.

Other operational vessels include: Protex, the 1908 inner-harbour motor launch; Harman, the 1947 ex-RAN harbour workboat/passenger motor boat; Berrima, the 1954 general Botany Bay workboat/passenger motor boat; and Kookaburra II, the 1954 wooden speed boat.

Under restoration are the 1912 ferry Kanangra, and the 1927 coastal steam tender John Oxley.

The Fleet also has 55 small heritage boats and one of the largest collections of marine engines in Australia which are being restored and conserved. The Fleet’s collection includes over fifty model ships, including models of some of the Fleet’s own vessels.

The Fleet maintains a comprehensive research library/archive which includes photographs, ships’ plans, diaries, logs and journals.

The Sydney Heritage Fleet made significant contributions towards the establishment of the Australian National Maritime Museum which opened at Darling Harbour in 1991. Whilst the two organisations differ, they do play complementary roles, the Sydney Heritage Fleet placing an emphasis on preservation, restoration and operation of heritage vessels.

Edwardian schooner Boomerang

Special thanks to