Sydney Heritage Fleet

Sydney Heritage Fleet, is the trading name of Sydney Maritime Museum Ltd., a public (non-profit) company[1] in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Sydney Heritage Fleet
Location within Sydney
Established1965 (1965)
LocationDarling Harbour, Pyrmont, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates33.8675°S 151.1985°E / -33.8675; 151.1985
TypeMaritime museum
DirectorRoss Muir (2012–present)
PresidentAnthony Hunt AO
ChairpersonRobert Albert
OwnerSydney Maritime Museum Ltd.
Public transit access

The Fleet restores and operates a number of historic vessels including the barque James Craig. In 2003 the International Congress of Maritime Museums gave the James Craig the Maritime Heritage Award.[2]

The offices, model workshop, some displayed boats, and the library are on Wharf 7 located in Darling Harbour. The James Craig is alongside the wharf. The fleet's shipyard is in Rozelle Bay; it is somewhat like a men's shed.[3]


The Lady Hopetoun and Port Jackson Marine Steam Museum was the forerunner of the Sydney Heritage Fleet. In 1965 a group of enthusiasts under Warwick Turner, formed the museum to preserve Sydney's 1902 VIP steam yacht Lady Hopetoun.[4][5] The organisation later became known as the Sydney Maritime Museum Ltd. In 1998 the museum adopted the trading name Sydney Heritage Fleet, except for two years (2003/4) when 'Australian Heritage Fleet' was used.[6] The Fleet now comprises 10 historic vessels which is amongst the largest collections of its type in the world.[7]


The Sydney Heritage Fleet is supported by a membership of 1200, with 450 volunteer workers who restore, operate and maintain the fleet and preserve traditional maritime methods and skills. In addition to the 10 primary vessels being operated or restored, the Fleet also has 55 small heritage boats and a significant collection of marine engines under restoration, as well as a collection of over fifty model ships. A comprehensive research library and archive which includes photographs, ships' plans, diaries, logs and journals is also maintained. [7]

Funding is through donations, membership subscriptions and income from vessel charters and tours.[7]

Operational vessels

James Craig

James Craig is a three-masted, iron-hulled barque. Built in 1874 in Sunderland, England, by Bartram, Haswell, & Co., she was originally named Clan Macleod. She was employed carrying cargo around the world, and rounded Cape Horn 23 times in 26 years. In 1900 she was acquired by Mr J J Craig, renamed James Craig in 1905, and operated between New Zealand and Australia until 1911.


Waratah is a coal fired tug and was launched at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney on the 22nd May 1902. Originally named Burunda, she was used to tow dredges and barges between the various ports along the NSW coast.[8]

Lady Hopetoun

Lady Hopetoun is a 1902 VIP steam launch named after the Governor General of Australia's wife - the then Lady Hopetoun. She was built in the W. M. Ford yard at Berrys Bay, Sydney and launched on the tenth of April.[9]


The 1903 schooner Boomerang was launched as the Bona on the 24 of September; it was designed by the noted Sydney naval architect Walter Reeks[10][11]

Protex a 1908 inner-harbour motor launch

Harman a 1947 ex-RAN harbour workboat/passenger motor boat

Berrima a 1954 Botany Bay workboat/passenger motor boat

Bronzewing, 1968 and Currawong, 1969, are Bronzewing-class harbour tugs (on loan from the Royal Australian Navy). They are used to berth and un-berth James Craig or to relocate the steam ships when not under steam.

Vessels under restoration

John Oxley

John Oxley is a steamship that previously served as a pilot boat and lighthouse and buoy tender. The ship was built in Scotland in 1927 for the Queensland state government.


Kanangara is a 1912 Sydney Ferries Limited steel and wooden ferry

Kookaburra II

A 1950s wooden speed boat


  1. "Current details for ABN 70 000 519 246". Australian Business Register. 4 August 2004. Archived from the original on 3 December 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  2. "World Ships Trust, Maritime Heritage Awards" (PDF). International Congress of Maritime Museums. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 December 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  3. Kringas, Damian (4 March 2014). "Sydney Heritage Fleet: Boat Building - Old School". ManSpace Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 March 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  4. "Traditions and skills a half century on - International Congress of Maritime Museums". Archived from the original on 5 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  5. Beresford, Charles (26 January 1966). "An Edwardian piece of our history". The Canberra Times. 40, (11, 375). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. p. 2. Retrieved 2 December 2017 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  6. "Australian Heritage Fleet", Trove, 2011, retrieved 3 December 2017
  7. "Sydney Heritage Fleet". Sydney Heritage Fleet. Archived from the original on 17 December 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  8. "A NEW GOVERNMENT STEAMER". The Daily Telegraph (7162). New South Wales, Australia. 23 May 1902. p. 8. Retrieved 6 December 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "New Harbour Trust Steamer". The Australian Star (4414). New South Wales, Australia. 10 April 1902. p. 5. Retrieved 2 December 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "LAUNCH OF THE YACHT BONA". The Sydney Morning Herald (20, 452). New South Wales, Australia. 26 September 1903. p. 7. Retrieved 3 December 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  11. Blaxell, Gregory (September 2011). "A Boomerang for all seasons". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
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