Onslow in front of Waterfront Pavillion

HMAS Onslow

Come aboard a real-life submarine and venture into the secret world of submarine warfare.



Venture into the secret world of submarine warfare on HMAS Onslow.

Our submarine was decommissioned in 1999, just weeks before coming to the museum. It's still close to operational condition. So, if you go onboard, listen out for the diving alarm!

With 5 other Oberons, Onslow gave the Royal Australian Navy a formidable submarine force. The motto of the navy's submarine arm is "Strength, silence, surprise".

This explains many of Onslow's characteristics, including:

  • a diving chamber for Special Forces to leave the boat for covert operations
  • a gash ejector containing weighted rubbish (gash) bags. When ejected, the bags sink to the ocean floor so no debris floats to give away the submarine's position
  • soundproofing on all equipment to make Oberons one of the quietest class of submarines ever built.

Onslow has travelled the equivalent of more than 16 times around the world, serving Australia with quiet distinction for 30 years.

Explore the danger and drama of life on board Onslow in Action Stations, our immersive experience.


"How amazing was the submarine!?!...apart from a few occasions of feeling a little anxious about the closed in space, it was so very interesting. I've never seen so many valves and buttons. How they know what each one does is unbelievable."

Visitor Fiona - via TripAdvisor (February 2019)

"One guide today on the submarine in particular was wonderful although all the guides on all the boats were knowledgeable and extremely kind to our three-year-old son today. Highly recommend and thank you."

Visitor Sarah - via Facebook


Onslow is an Oberon class submarine

Laid down 1967, launched 1968
Commissioned 1969
Decommissioned 1999
Transferred by the Department of Defence to National Maritime Museum 1999

Explore the danger and drama of life on board Onslow in Action Stations, our immersive experience.

Length 89.90 m (295 ft)
Beam 8.07 m (26.5 ft)
Built Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Co, Greenock, Scotland
Propulsion Two mechanically supercharged Admiralty Standard Range diesel generators with two English Electric propulsion motors
Speed 15 knots + submerged; 12 knots surfaced
Maximum depth Over 190 metres
Complement 60 sailors, 8 officers
Armament Six 21-inch bow torpedo tubes capable of launching anti-ship and anti-submarine Mk 48 torpedoes, and anti-ship UGM-84 Harpoon missiles
Pendant 60



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