After seeing the HMAS Whyalla on a travel show a few years back, it had been a place I had wanted to visit for years. “Look at the giant boat sitting on the land mummy!!” exclaimed Charlie as we pulled into the car park at the Whyalla Maritime Museum. It certainly is an impressive sight no matter how old you are.
Arriving just in time for a tour, the boys loved how interactive our tour guide was and how hands on she made it for the boys. Whilst they were entertained with various activities such as steering the boat, both from the emergency steering wheel and the main, ringing the bell, and sitting on the cannon seat our guide ran us through the history of this great ship.
The HMAS Whyalla, named after the city of Whyalla, was built in 1940 and was the first to be built in the Whyalla shipping yards. The ship was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes built for World War II and recived three battle honours for her wartime service. She was decommissioned in 1946 when she was then sold to the Victorian Public Works Department and renamed “Rip” and was used as a lighthouse maintenance vessel in Port Phillip Bay.
In 1984 she was set to be sold for scrap and when the town of Whyalla heard of this they negoitiated to buy her back for $5000! They would have received a lot more for scrap meatl money than that! After sailing back to Whyalla it then cost more than $200,000 to relocate her 2km inland in 1987, where special footings were made for her to sit on. She now holds the pime spot in the Musuem gardens and is such anamazing sight to see.
The museum located behind the ship goes further into detail about the vessel and others made in Whyalla and also hosts some very significant pieces of maritime history such as Matthew Flinders Journal and Charts. The model railway located inside the museum is also an interesting viewing experience as it is one of the largest HO gauge model railways. It depicts the links between One Steel in Whyalla and Iron Knob to Port Augusta to Adelaide.
Looking through all of the information and watching the 20minute film on the relocation of the ship will take up quite a bit of time for the adults but after watching the model train go around a few times the kiddies may get a bit restless so the operators of the museum have thought of this as well and built a kiddies corner with colouring in and activities for them to do.
There is honestly so much to see in this museum and when combined with the tour of the HMAS Whyalla, you could spend hours here ( we spent over three hours!). There’s even picnic tables and chairs if decide have a good look around, so pack your lunch and stop in at the Whyalla Maritime Museum next time you’re passing through this busy Eyre Peninsula town.
Where: Lincoln Highway Whyalla SA
More Info and Pricing: Whyalla Maritime Museum
Open Hours : 10am to 4pm daily (Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day)