RAN Heritage Centre

The RAN Heritage Centre is currently closed due to council wharf redevelopment and will remain closed until further notice.

We apologise for any inconvenience. We will advise via our website when the Museum will reopen.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Navy Heritage at navy.history@defence.gov.au


RAN Heritage Centre Main Building
RAN Heritage Centre Main Building

Since the Naval Heritage Centre opened in 2005 over 100,000 visitors, including school groups and private tours have enjoyed and experienced the displays. As well as sampling the fine fare offered by the Salthorse Café, with its magnificent Sydney Harbour view as a backdrop, visitors have enjoyed the hidden gem that is the quiet gardens and grassed areas behind the Heritage Centre for picnics and BBQs. I have appreciated greatly all the kind remarks on the exhibition and surrounding grounds offered by the Heritage Centre visitors.

We receive many emails requesting information on the service history of a relative or details on a previous ship of the RAN. The best source for information on the service records of ex-members is held by the Australian National Archives. Ships’ histories can be found on this website.

Mezzanine Level
Mezzanine Level

General information


Entry to all areas of the RAN Heritage Centre is free of charge. EFTPOS facilities are available at the Salthorse Café.


Contact us

Postal Address Museum Manager
RAN Heritage Centre
Locked Bag 7005
Liverpool NSW 1871
Reception/Security Telephone 02 6266 1108
Email navy.history@defence.gov.au

Related websites

RAN Fleet Air Arm Museum https://www.navy.gov.au/history/museums/fleet-air-arm-museum
RAN History (ship histories) https://www.navy.gov.au/history
Australian War Memorial http://www.awm.gov.au/
Australian National Maritime Museum http://www.anmm.gov.au/
Imperial War Museum (UK) http://www.iwm.org.uk/
National Museum of the Royal Navy (UK) http://www.nmrn.org.uk/
Royal Navy Submarine Museum (UK) http://www.submarine-museum.co.uk/
National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy http://www.navymuseum.co.nz/
Naval History & Heritage Command (US) http://www.history.navy.mil/

Heritage Centre - function hire

The RAN Heritage Centre is not currently available as a function venue.


Yours to enjoy

The RAN Heritage Centre is a unique facility within one of the most historic and beautiful locations on the harbour and is available for the enjoyment of all.


Public Access Precinct

The RAN Heritage Centre is located within the Garden Island Public Access Precinct. The Public Access Precinct has a number of relics from Garden Island's past including the earliest known graffiti in Australia (January 1788) from when Fredrick Meredith, a First Fleet sailor, carved his initials into a sandstone rock - and they are still there.

The Public Access Precinct also includes fortifications from the colonial period, the first grass tennis court in Australia (not for public use), a heritage rose garden, 150 year old trees, beautiful grass verges, and picnic tables and seating.

The ex-Main Signal Building, which once controlled the movement of naval vessels in and out of the harbour, has had its roof converted to a viewing platform. From there visitors can enjoy a spectacular 360° view of Sydney Harbour.



The RAN Heritage Centre exhibits the physical history of Australia's Navy. Displays range from large weapon systems to personal mementoes representing the developments and events in Navy over more than 100 years.


The displays

Visitors to the RAN Heritage Centre will enjoy a range of displays that provide an experience of Navy.


The Battle of Sydney

View the conning tower of one of the Japanese midget submarines that attacked Sydney Harbour in World War II and watch the battle unfold on interactive Audio/Visual. See the Boom Boat that first raised the alarm on 31 May 1942.


‘In Which We Serve’

View a variety of items from the ships and battles of Navy's history. Artefacts include those from the colonial Navies, Sydney/Emden - Navy's first victory at sea, the struggles of World War II, the Cold War and the Persian Gulf.


‘A Sailors Life For Me’

Gain a greater understanding of what it was and is like to live at sea in a warship. View a Mess Deck from World War II (hammocks and all), see the traditions and pastimes of Navy and how they reinforce the spirit of a fighting Service.


‘The Bridge’

Stand in a simulated open bridge of a World War II destroyer. Touch original equipment that was used over 60 years ago. You to can be a Captain, Officer of the Watch, Quartermaster or Yeoman.


The Professions of Navy

See how Navy's people have 'done the job' at sea over the years. From gunnery to stores, from navigation to aviation, all are included in this display of how the 'profession' has changed and developed over a century of naval warfare.


‘The Periscope’

Get a submariner's view of Sydney Harbour through our fully operational attack periscope from an Oberon Class submarine.


Naval Technology & Ordnance

See how technological developments have been applied to the naval environment. Precision instruments for navigating and gunnery and a range of ordnance used in naval warfare from shells to torpedoes and missiles.


‘Boats and Dockyards’

Without the dockyards, Navy goes nowhere. Artefacts include original workers tools from the early 20th century and a range of items that track the history of warship construction and repair in Australia.


A Century of the Silent Service

Explore Navy’s century of submarines beginning with the WWI deployments of AE1 and AE2, the Royal Navy squadron, the diesel electric Oberons and the 21st century Collins Class.


The RAN’s Indigenous Heritage

We have a long and proud history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service. This display explores this service and the recognition of Australia’s first people.




The RAN Heritage Centre is located within the Public Access Precinct on the northern end of Garden Island. The Centre is housed in two heritage-listed buildings: The Gun Mounting Workshop (1922) and the Boatshed (1890).

The Public Access Precinct is itself of heritage significance and includes historic gardens, heritage locations and has panoramic views of Sydney Harbour.


Disabled access

The RAN Heritage Centre and the Public Access Precinct have been designed to allow full access to the disabled.


Opening times

Due to ongoing construction, the RAN Heritage Centre is currently closed.


How to get there

Visitor access to the RAN Heritage Centre and the Garden Island Public Access Precinct is by Sydney Ferry.

Due to ongoing construction, ferries will only be running to Garden Island on Sundays.


Bus tours

Organised bus tour groups that visit the RAN Heritage Centre are permitted to transit Garden Island Dockyard in their own bus. There is no bus transport provided by Navy. To organise a tour for your organisation, contact Centre staff via email, navy.history@defence.gov.au


Sydney ferry

In collaboration with Sydney Ferries Corporation, pedestrian visitors to the RAN Heritage Centre arrive by Sydney Ferry using the Circular Quay to Double Bay route. The ferries will stop at the Garden Island Wharf during RAN Heritage Centre opening hours only.

Due to ongoing construction, ferries will only be running to Garden Island on Sundays.

All pedestrian visitors are to depart the Public Access Precinct by the last ferry each day.

For information on current ferry times, please visit https://transportnsw.info/timetables. Passengers are advised to check wharf indicators on the day of travel and to be ready for boarding 5 minutes prior to the departure time.



Tour bus operators are to ensure passengers do not disembark until inside the RAN Heritage Centre precinct.

Due to security requirements there is NO pedestrian access or private vehicle access to or from the RAN Heritage Centre via the HMAS Kuttabul Garden Island Dockyard.

Private vessels are NOT permitted to enter or anchor within the buoyed area marking the extent of Naval Waters around Garden Island. Private vessels are not permitted to land passengers or tie up at the Garden Island Wharf.