Almost every place that we visit near the sea, I look for a maritime museum. In Sydney, we visited the Australian National Maritime Museum and I was not disappointed. This museum has real ships, exhibits on a multitude of subjects and beautiful nautical models, paintings and instruments. In June 1985, the Australian government announced the establishment of a national museum focusing on Australia’s maritime history and the nation’s ongoing involvement and dependence on the sea. Proposals for the creation of such a museum had been under consideration over the preceding years. After consideration of the idea to establish a maritime museum, the Federal government announced that a national maritime museum would be constructed at Darling Harbour, tied into the New South Wales State government’s redevelopment of the area for the Australian bicentenary.
As part of the Sydney Maritime Museum, they have a replica of the HMS Endeavour which was the British Royal Navy research vessel that Lieutenant James Cook commanded on his first voyage of discovery, to Australia and New Zealand, from 1769 to 1771. The idea of recreating Endeavour for use as a museum ship was generated during the establishment of the Australian National Maritime Museum in the 1980s. A specialist shipyard, complete with viewing platform and guided tours for the public was set up, and construction of the vessel commenced in 1983. Due to financial problems the building had to stop but was finally completed by a private foundation. The Endeavour replica was launched at the end of 1993, and completed in 1994. After sea trials, the replica sailed from Fremantle to Sydney, where she arrived at the end of 1994. During 1995, the ship recreated Cook’s voyage along eastern Australia, then visited New Zealand at the end of the year. In late 1996, the Endeavour replica set out on a circumnavigation of the world, visiting ports in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and North America, before returning to New Zealand in late 1999. During 2011 and 2012, the replica circumnavigated Australia.
Since our hotel was on the west side of Darling Harbor, we really enjoyed hanging out in the many attractions and restaurants located there. Darling Harbor is named after Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, who was Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831. In 1984 the premier of NSW, Neville Wran, announced the Government’s decision to redevelop Darling Harbor and “return it to the people of Sydney” in time for Australia’s 1988 bicentennial celebrations. In 2000, Darling Harbour hosted five sports during the Olympic Games and construction of the King Street Wharf was completed. In 2009, Darling Harbour celebrated its 21st anniversary with a year of activities including a multicultural birthday festival and the publication of a commemorative book, A History of Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Today it is a large recreational and pedestrian precinct that is situated on western outskirts of the Sydney central business district. Since we live in the desert, we don’t usually think of ferries as a way to get around but in Sydney, they are most often the quickest way to get places. There are ferry wharves including Darling Harbour and Pyrmont Bay which provide access to the Inner Harbor ferry services, which runs services to Circular Quay and other suburbs.