The Esther Williams Trophy

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The thing that most impressed me about the RAN (Royal Australian Navy) Heritage Centre is its focus on the leisure and off-duty activities of sailors at sea and in port (ok, maybe not all of them!). A significant part the Centre’s exhibits is focused on giving the visitor an understanding of what it was, and is, like to live on a warship and an understanding of the traditions and pastimes of the Navy and how these reinforce the spirit of a fighting service. Continue reading “The Esther Williams Trophy”

RAN Heritage Centre (Naval Museum)

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For two reasons, I suspect, not many people visit the RAN Heritage Centre.

Firstly, from the name they have no idea what it is – it is the flagship museum of a small number of Australian navy museums – and secondly, they hear reference to its location on Garden Island, an active naval base, and assume it is going to be difficult to visit for security reasons – it is not. Continue reading “RAN Heritage Centre (Naval Museum)”

Old Royal Naval College Chapel – Not All That It Seems

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ORNC – Chapel

Wandering around the exterior of the Old Royal Naval College (a naval hospital until 1873 and now the University of Greenwich) and a look at the grandness of the buildings in a setting next to none will leave the visitor with little doubt that this was no ordinary hospital for convalescing seamen in the late 1700s. Enter some of the buildings and most notably the Chapel or the Painted Hall (dining room) and you will be in no doubt. These buildings were built in the days when Britain ruled the waves – the days of Rule Britannia, when the navy was the premier service and money was no object (though I will come back to that latter comment about money). Continue reading “Old Royal Naval College Chapel – Not All That It Seems”