Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites

HMAS Onslow

Australian National Maritime Museum - Joy of Museums - HMAS Onslow

HMAS Onslow

HMAS Onslow was one of six Oberon-class submarines operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The submarine was named after the town of Onslow, Western Australia, and Sir Alexander Onslow, the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Onslow was decommissioned in 1999 and was presented to the Australian National Maritime Museum, where she is preserved as a museum ship.

Submarines were first used with significant impact during World War I (1914–1918), and are now used by most navies. Military uses include attacking enemy ships, protection of vessels, blockade running, nuclear strike force, reconnaissance, land attack, and covert special operations. Civilian applications for submarines include science, salvage, exploration and facilities maintenance. Submarines are also increasingly being used in tourism and undersea archaeology.

Oberon-class Submarine

The Oberon class was designed as a direct follow-on from the Porpoise-class, and a total of 27 British-designed submarines were operated by five different nations. Thirteen of these submarines were run by the Royal Navy, six by the Royal Australian Navy, three by the Brazilian Navy, three by the Royal Canadian Navy and two by the Chilean Navy.

The Oberon-class submarines operated during the height of the Cold War, with duties including surveillance, tracking, special forces operations and as targets for anti-submarine training. This class of submarine serviced until 2000, and at least eight of the subs have been preserved as museum vessels across the globe.

HMAS Onslow

  • Exhibit:                     HMAS Onslow (SS 60/SSG 60)
  • Namesake:               Town of Onslow, Western Australia
  • Builder:                    Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering, Greenock, Scotland
  • Commissioned:       1969
  • Decommissioned:  1999
  • Motto:                       Festina Lente; Latin “Hasten Slowly”
  • Status:                       Museum ship
  • Class and type:        Oberon-class submarine
  • Displacement:         2,030 tons surfaced; 2,410 tons submerged
  • Length:                     295.2 ft (90.0 m)
  • Beam:                        26.5 ft (8.1 m)
  • Draught:                   18 ft (5.5 m)
  • Propulsion:
    • 2 × Admiralty Standard Range supercharged V16 diesel generators
    • 2 × English Electric motors
    • 3,500 bhp, 4,500 shp
    • Two shafts
  • Speed:
    • 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
    • 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) submerged
    • 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph) at snorkel depth
  • Range:                    9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km; 10,000 mi)
  • Test depth:            200 metres (660 ft)
  • Complement:        8 officers, 56 – 60 sailors
  • Museum:               Australian National Maritime Museum

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“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
– Omar N. Bradley

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Photo Credit: GM