On Monday Nov. 18th, we went to visit the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, a fine piece of architecture with a roof that looks like sails. I took this photo on a clearer day than the 18th, when we had to shelter in a business district bar for lunch on the way there or we'd have been soaked to the skin in a torrential burst of rain. We sat watching people's umbrellas blowing inside out before venturing over the footbridge.
The museum was excellent and deserved a whole afternoon; we could have explored all the ship replicas and the submarine outside, had we wished.
As in the art gallery, I learned an enormous amount. Near the entrance is the fastest boat in the world, the Spirit of Australia, as driven by Australia's Ken Warby in 1977 (511.11kph). He had built it in his backyard (which reminds me of the entertaining film The World's Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro, a New Zealander who'd built the world's fastest motorcycle in his backyard. I first watched that film on board our container ship, the Flottbek, half way across the Atlantic).
As you walk further into the museum you see a mural showing the Sydney wharfs and the union of "wharfies" in the 1930s, during the world wide Depression before World War II. On another wall is a series of "Saltwater Visions": Aboriginal bark paintings, some of which have been used as evidence of indigenous rights in court cases over the ownership of saltwater lands. They depict turtle fishing from dugout canoes with sails. It seems that Australia's first peoples learned their boat building techniques from Indonesian sailors. The artwork also represents the crocodile eggs and dugongs found in the mangrove swamps of the Northern Territory. Fish or sharks are carved from branches.
Another part of the museum was dedicated to a collection of famous surf boards and yachts including the yacht belonging to Kay Cottee who was the first woman to sail round the world single handed in 1988. The vessel's appropriately named First Lady and you can clamber over it in the museum.
The first warships of the Royal Australian Navy were built in 1913 to accommodate the men who responded to the wartime appeal for service, as illustrated on a typical poster, saying:
It is nice in the surf, but what about
THE MEN IN THE TRENCHES?
Nowadays the RAN is more involved with peaceable activities such as a hydrographic survey from the Torres Strait to Antarctica.GO AND HELP.