Found at the mouth to the Fremantle Port, the modern WA Maritime Museum showcases Fremantle and Western Australia’s rich past as a sunny coastal city and busy port. It’s a brilliant spot for families to spend a couple of hours. The museum will capture the imagination of both young and old boating enthusiasts.
A stunning feat of architecture, the modern museum is home to galleries and exhibitions that explore WA’s diverse relationship with the sea. I hadn’t really thought about just how many different kinds of boats are in our everyday lives – from fishing boats, leisure boats, cargo ships and sailing boats, you’ll find something about them all here.
In the main hall, they have a preserved Megamouth Shark which is one of the world’s most rare sharks. Only 9 specimens have ever been found. The one on display in the WA Maritime Museum was discovered in Mandurah in 1988.
Very young children may not enjoy the majority of the exhibits, as there are not a lot of interactive things for children to touch and play with. Kids 4+ should still have great fun visiting the museum. School holidays are a great time to come to the Maritime Museum, as there are often extra craft activities for children to do.
At the time of visiting (October 2018) there was also a French Explorers exhibit on and some French themed dress-ups and crafts.
There are several themed areas to the WA Maritime Museum. ‘Hooked on Fishing’ looks how the fishing industry in WA has changed over the years and stories from Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour.
‘Swan River’ which includes an old ferry that you can hop aboard, shows how the landscape of the Swan River has changed throughout the years.
‘Naval Defence’ about the importance of Fremantle and the Royal Australian Navy in times of war and peace. Little Chef was fascinated with the huge torpedo.
‘Indian Ocean’ examines the trade routes that have linked people of the Indian Ocean. There’s a fun and interactive activity where your shadow can interact with the projection of sea life.
‘Cargoes’ which looks at what has come through WA’s ports over the years – including livestock, goods and of course people, and what impact this has had on Western Australia.
One of the highlights of the Museum is viewing the winning America’s Cup yacht, “Australia II”, which some parent’s might remember from the 1980s. There’s lots of Americas Cup memorabilia and a “try it yourself” winching activity. There’s also Jon Sanders’ Parry Endeavour and many iconic vessels from WA’s maritime history.
For adventurous kids and adults, there’s separate tours of an Oberon class submarine — HMAS Ovens. The guided tours take approximately one hour and you’ll learn fun facts about living and serving aboard the cramped conditions of the vessel. The tour is available to children aged 5 plus.
On the top floor of the WA Maritime Museum is a kids corner catering for the younger children. Here you’ll find books, games, toys and a few chairs for you to sit and take a rest whilst watching the children play.
At WA Maritime Museum is a Caffissimo café which has tables inside and on the deck outside overlooking the port. It serves a range of light meals. There’s also a shop selling ocean and Australian themed gifts.
We enjoyed our visit to the WA Maritime Museum. It’s a beautifully designed building and is a great way to spend an hour or two when visiting Fremantle.
Western Australian Maritime Museum
Victoria Quay, Fremantle,
Phone: 9431 8334
Open daily: 9.30am – 5.00pm
Open ANZAC Day 1.00pm – 5.00pm
Closed: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday
Please note: due to heat and wind, submarine tours are not always available during the summer period. Please call ahead to confirm submarine tours are running on the day of your visit.
Museum Cafe opening hours
Monday to Friday: 9.30 – 4.00pm
Saturday: 11.00 – 4.00pm
Sunday: 9.30 – 4.30pm
Adult tickets are $15 for Museum entry and $15 to tour the Submarine.
Concession: $7.50 or $15 for combined entry.
Children: Free (up to 15yrs) and $7.50 for a submarine tour.
Family pass (up to 2 adults and 3 children) $30.
On the second Tuesday of every month, you can enter the museum by just paying a donation.
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