|Doesn’t look all that forceful|
Okay, you can probably read about the Forceful on the martime’s museum website, so I probably don’t need to say all that much about it here (though I will anyway). The Forceful is one of museum’s collection of boats, and it was the last coal-fired tugboat to be in service in the Port of Brisbane. It was originally commissioned in 1926 and served in a number to places, though mostly in the Port of Brisbane, until 1970. These days she sits on the Brisbane River, next to the musuem, so that people like my brother and I can wander around on its deck and stick our heads into some of the compartments. They did have a guard (or maybe just one of the museum volunteers) standing on the jetty, probably to stop people from stealing it. Mind you, I suspect that stealing the tug boat is not all that easy, considering that you probably need an experienced crew to actually get it moving.
In fact there are a number of ships on display, including a retired Pearl Diver, and Jessica Watson’s yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady. For those who don’t know who Jessica Watson is (and I must admit that I’m one of them because after she completed her trek I pretty much forgot about her, not that I was paying all that much attention in the first place), she holds the record for being the youngest person to sail around the world (she didn’t circumnavigate the globe because, apparently, there is a certain route you have to take, and she took a route that while it went around the world, it didn’t travel the distance for it to be a circumnavigation – to actually circumnavigate the world you have to pass through the Suez and Panama canals).
|Jessica Watson’s route|
|Typical Circumnavigation Route|
Among the collection of boats, the museum also have a number of nautical items, such as a collection of buoys, engines, a radar, and some cannons. One of the sheds is full of smaller boats, including the Fury, which is a skiff-class dingy (a dingy that has a sail attached to it, much like a small yacht). There is also a building what contains a number of exhibits as well some model boats, though since we were pressed for time, and also a little hungry, we weren’t able to look at all of the exhibits. The main reason is because we spent quite a lot of time crawling through the nooks and crannies of the Diamantina, which is the large River Destroyer sitting in the old dry dock.
|It just fits|
Once again you can find out all about the HMAS Diamantina from the museum’s website, or else you could go to Wikipedia, though I suspect you would get more reliable information from the owner’s of the ship (not that owning something automatically means you know everything about it – my Grandfather and computers is a prime example). Anyway, this destroyer (or is it a frigate – I’m not sure which – in fact I’m pretty sure I couldn’t tell you the difference – as far as I am concerned they are both ships) was built during World War II and served some time doing what ships generally do during war – or warships at least – shoot at things, preferably the enemy. After the war it was then converted to an ocean-survey ship (which basically meant that they removed all of the guns) and was then retired in 1980 where it became a permanent exhibit at the museum where it sits in the drydock.
|The Engine Room|
Okay, they could have set the ship up so you could wander around the dry dock and look at the outside, but that wouldn’t be any fun, so you can go on board and wander around the inside of the ship. The first thing that I discovered is that this ship is huge. Okay, when I say huge I am not talking about aircraft carrier huge (now those ships are gigantic) but rather that to explore every nook and cranny of the Diamantina takes quite a long time. The ship itself has four levels, though the top comprises the bridge, while you can only go into a couple of the rooms in the bilge (which is what I believe they call the bottom level of the ship, the place naughty sailors are thrown because it tends to be dark and damp, with water shloshing around the floor). The middle two levels comprise of the crew quarters and the other operational parts of the ship, including the radio room.
Anyway, it would probably be better to simply show you a bunch of photographs – in fact it would be even better to go and check it out yourself, if exploring warships is your thing.
As you can see from the photo above the hallways are quite narrow and cramped, and the doors are also quite small. Living on the ship while it was out at sea was not the type of experience for those who like their space – most of the crew do not have that luxury (though checking out the captain’s cabin, as well as the cabins of some of the other senior officers, you can see that they do). As for the medical suite (or whatever it is call) this isn’t just a first aid cabin – you would have a fully qualified surgeon on board, namely because there would be times that you simply could not wait to get back to shore to perform an operation.
If you were lucky, or held a senior position, you may have to share a cabin with a couple of others, however if you were simply the average seaman, then unfortunately your bed would simply consist of a hammock hanging in one of the rooms in the lower deck.
Of course, there were also places where the crew could relax, which included a bar (though I suspect that alcohol was not available – we can’t have a drunk crew, or even one suffering from a hangover, operating the destroyer), though I suspect access would depend on one’s seniority. However, they do have a kitchen and a mess, though once again the officers and the crew wouldn’t generally share eating areas.
So, that is the museum. Pretty cool, particularly the River Class destroyer sitting in the dry dock. I found it interesting, and am certainly going to check out the one in Sydney (which I believe also has a submarine).
Queensland Maritime Museum – The Last River Destroyer by David Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.
Diamantina source: Nick-D used with permission under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Jessica Watson’s Route source: Moondyne used with permission under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported.