Australian Maritime Museum

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

AUSTRALIAN MARITIME MUSEUM

Date: 3rd January 2014

AUSTRALIAN MARITIME MUSEUM

Jonathan and I paid a visit to this splendid museum the other day and even though we gave ourselves 4 hours, it still wasn't enough time to do justice to the place. Also they have a wonderful Viking exhibition which we were keen to see and that too took far more time than we realised.

They have various nautical machines which you can visit, clamber on and delve into. One particularly interesting exhibit was a submarine - the Vampire. I suffer from mild claustrophobia and the thought of being in the depths of the ocean for 10 weeks at a time in such confined space, made me feel quite sick. How the sailors coped with it heaven alone knows - the heat, the smells, the lack of privacy!! They were allowed one shower a week of one minute duration! Can you imagine it?

There's also the last fully equipped destroyer in the world which we were at liberty to inspect with a superb guide called Bill. Guides vary enormously and Bill was definitely one of the 'goodies' with many an amusing tale to tell. I'm so sorry that I can't upload my photos from my camera onto the Ipad but will do so when I return to the UK.

They have a replica of Captain Cook's bark 'Endeavour' which was fascinating although we didn't manage to go below decks. It is still used today as a sailing ship but with a few more mod cons than it had in Cook's day. The actual Endeavour was scuttled off Rhode Island during the War of Independence in order to keep the French from landing. However there are detailed drawings of it's construction at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich and a private individual had it built. It was bought for the Australian people and a magnificent purchase it is.

There's a reconstruction of a Viking ship which we were able to board though there's very little to see because they were so basic There's also a refurbished barque - the James Craig which is a hundred years younger than the Endeavour with a hull constructed of metal plating and a quite luxurious interior. Unfortunately we arrived there with a minute to go to closing time so didn't have a really good look. We were unaware that the ships don't remain open for visiting for the same duration as the Museum.

We then trotted off to the Viking exhibition which was absolutely superb. I've rarely seen an exhibition so well laid out. Jonathan has a Norwegian grandmother so the Vikings are of particular interest to him. And, as a woman who loves jewellery, I was staggered at the intricacy of the pieces found in various burial sites in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and even further afield.

The Maritime Museum is a must for any visitor to Sydney with even a modicum of interest in things maritime. I'll put up photos when I get back home. Bye for now, Jan

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.