HMAS Vampire to ‘sail’ again on Wednesday – send us your photos

Daring-class destroyer HMAS Vampire will be moved from the the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour to Garden Island on 18 January 2023.

CAPTION: HMAS Vampire, Australia’s largest museum vessel, will be moved for maintenance in January 2023. Photo courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum.

The museum-piece ship will undergo essential maintenance at the Royal Australian Navy’s eastern base.

The movement is scheduled to commence at 8am on Wednesday 18 January.

Vampire will be ‘towed in state’, attended by three tugboats and a pilot vessel and should make for spectacular and poignant photo opportunities at many locations across Sydney Harbour – especially under the bridge.

CONTACT would love for fans to send us their photos (to, which we’ll attach to this story, below [but, in answer to an emailed question, no payment is offered for photos – just the thrill of the chase and the buzz of the by-line – and a hyperlink, if you want one].

According to the Australian National Maritime Museum, Vampire is scheduled to be back on display and open to the public on 17 February (assuming (but not confirmed) the return move from Garden Island to Darling Harbour to happen a day or two before that).


Approximate timings (on 18 January):
UPDATE: Timings delayed by 90 minutes

  • 0800 departure and turning in Cockle Bay
  • 0840 tow toward Barrangaroo
  • 0850 passage under Harbour Bridge
  • 0900 past Opera House
  • 1000 reach Garden Island Naval Base



The Bat leaving Darling Harbour this morning, taken by my fiancee Laura from her office in Barangaroo. Cheers Finn.
The Bat leaving Darling Harbour this morning,
taken by my fiancee Laura from her office in Barangaroo.

Cheers, Finn.



Damien Ewin –



Margaret Bond at Illoura Reserve



Michael P






Nimi Vladilena



Greg Dixon



Watermelon Photography – on Instagram Watermelon



Chris Sattler





Saw your article this morning on the Bat getting her new paint job.
Here’s a shot I took in Sydney for her 60th Birthday Reunion.
I was a Kellick ETP on her when she decommissioned.


Steve “Scotty” Glasgow



See a separate page of old photos from friends of Vampire, here.
Feel free to add this collection too.



Vampire served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1959 to 1986.

Her arsenal included three twin turrets housing 6 x 4.5-inch guns (still in place); two single-gun and two twin-gun Bofors anti-aircraft guns (still in place); five anti-ship torpedo launchers (removed in 1970); and, anti-submarine mortar tubes (removed in 1980).

Despite her firepower, Vampire had a peaceful career, even while escorting troops to Vietnam in the 1960s.

In 1977, Vampire had a brush with royalty as the RAN escort for HMY Britannia during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee tour of Australia.

Vampire was the third of three Australian-built Daring-class destroyers in the Royal Australian Navy, and one of the first all-welded ships built in Australia, at Cockatoo Island.

She was commissioned on 23 June 1959 and decommissioned on 13 August 1986, after sailing almost 1.5million kilometres in Australia’s service.





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

13 thoughts on “HMAS Vampire to ‘sail’ again on Wednesday – send us your photos

  • 18/01/2023 at 1:30 pm

    I joined Vampire in June 65 as an able seaman Tas UC and left in January 68, she was a wonderful ship, we had a great ships company all of very well trained, my berth was 2 charlie mess Portside forward top bunk.
    I have so many memories that I wouldn’t know where to start. I have a picture of Vampire doing work up exercises in a large swell.

  • 17/01/2023 at 11:43 pm

    My dad, Keith McPherson was a Petty Officer on Vampire. ?

  • 17/01/2023 at 12:57 pm

    My husband was a crew member when it was commissioned in 1959. He did 3 trips to Hong Kong on her . He painted the bat wings on the radar tower this ship has been his talking point all our lives it was his first love I reckon we do have lots of photos but will need time to go through them

  • 16/01/2023 at 8:32 pm

    On her last up top trip before modernisation,[ 1969?] Vampire and HMS London participated in an exercise , outside Singapore, where Vamps discharged the last 21 inch torpedo fired in the RAN, and London did a gunnery offset shoot with her 4,5 inch guns. Set to run deep, London sent a signal which read ” congratulations , Vampire, your torpedo passed under our bow . B.Z. ” Judging by the accuracy of Londons gunnery, if it was real we may not have gotten close. My oppo & I were off watch from the boiler room, up in the spud locker, rubbernecking, and poor old Vamps nearly shook herself to pieces, by goodness she flew. That was an eventful trip, we ended up escorting Melbourne back to Singapore after the Evans collided with her. Very sad.

  • 16/01/2023 at 7:09 pm

    HMAS Vampire was named after HMS Vampire. But why was HMS vampire named vampire?!

    • 16/01/2023 at 8:51 pm

      HMAS Vampire 1 was a V&W class destroyer in WW2. Waterhen, Vampire,Voyager,Vendetta along with S class HMAS Stuart made up the Scrap Iron Flotilla. Vampire was renamed from Wallace to Vampire in 1917, don’t know why?

      • 16/01/2023 at 10:17 pm

        It’s the ‘why’ that’s bugging me lol

  • 16/01/2023 at 6:07 pm

    I remember Her decommissioning well….or at least Her paying-off run, which featured a final circumnavigation of Australia. Brisbane was Her first stop on that trip, and She berthed alongside us [HMAS TOBRUK L50] for Her 4 day Port call.

    See….the thing is…She was a Steam Ship, and, as a consequence, She could blow black soot out of Her Funnels any time She chose.

    We aboard HMAS TOBRUK were preparing for Admirals Rounds set to occur at 10:00 that Monday morning. TOBRUK was tickty-boo and shone like a new pin…which was a shame as when VAMPIRE sailed at about 08:15, She blew black soot over the entire ship….BASTARDS!!!!….We could hear them laughing still as they rounded Bulimba Point outbound on the river.

    I don’t know how we did it, but we washed the Ship down and got into Our Sunday-go-to-meetin clothes just before the old Boy lobbed. And received a satisfactory as the old feller wouldn’t want to spoil us. Life in a Blue Suit.

    • 16/01/2023 at 6:18 pm

      Not sure that was our decommissioning trip…May 86 we visited Brisbane where the former? Governor passed away (ex RAN WW2) and we on Vampire performed a State Funeral with the Navy Band and Nirimba Gun Carriage team joining us. Sailed straight after for Townsville, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and NZ.

    • 16/01/2023 at 6:52 pm

      LOL – good story Rick

    • 16/01/2023 at 7:38 pm

      Hate to disagree Fish…I was the POSY onboard and we didn’t do a final circumnavigation of Australia as you state….we were visiting Brisbane when former Governor Ramsay died and we were kept in Brisbane for more than a week to do the State Funeral with a Gun Carriage being brought to Brisbane from HMAS NIRIMBA…. from Brisbane we sailed to Townsville then to the South West Pacific before decommissioning on 12 August 1986….and I’m sure the Stokers would agree – we didn’t blow soot “on demand”….I remember on many occassions CMDR E had to front the CO on the bridge and explain why they blew black smoke …..


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