Two minutes’ walk from the main museum building is Wharf 7 Maritime Heritage Centre.

The ground floor of the centre is open to the public and has three permanent exhibitions of significant boats from the collections of the Australian National Maritime Museum and Sydney Heritage Fleet.

Seachange shows the changing face of Pyrmont, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo across the water, with artefacts from the lives of wharf labourers and an interpretation of an Aboriginal midden to recognise the Gadigal community who inhabited this place.

Seaworthy is a selection of iconic boats of Sydney Harbour and special gems of national significance from the Australian Register of Historic Vessels.

Putts-putts, oars and propellers includes rowing shells, motorboats and Australian marine engines that reveal much about Sydneysiders’ deep connection to their waterways.

The space also hosts the occasional free temporary exhibition.

Behind-the-scenes

Wharf 7 holds collections of the Australian National Maritime Museum and Sydney Heritage Fleet. They are a tangible link to the stories of our maritime past. 

Sydney Heritage Fleet began amassing their collection of dinghies, skiffs, speedboats and rowing shells in the early 1960s, focusing on the democracy and fun of Sydney Harbour.

The National Maritime Museum’s vessels, which include Ben Lexcen’s revolutionary 18-footer Taipan, the nation’s oldest surviving hydroplane and the test tank model used to refine the winged keel of Australia II, are much more diverse in origin, appearance and use and tell the larger national story of Australians and the sea.

Take a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the Maritime Heritage Centre in the historic Wharf 7 building. This is an exciting chance to hear from expert guides about the inner workings of the Sydney Heritage Fleet and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Maritime museum guided tours

Sydney Heritage Fleet Tours

Australian Register of Historic Vessels

This extraordinary resource of significant vessels has led to the development of the Australian Register of Historic Vessels (ARHV). Jointly managed by both organisations, it is a national project seeking to catalogue Australia’s significant surviving historic watercraft. 

The ARHV now holds details of hundreds of vessels from every state and territory across Australia. Some of those boats are here on display in Wharf 7, giving us a small window into the rich and diverse selection of historic material held in our museum collections.

Vaughan Evans Library

On the first floor of Wharf 7 is the Vaughan Evans Library - available to the public by appointment only. It has reference sources on ships and shipping, collections of journals on shipbuilding, yachting and surfing and more.