Submarine Collection

HMAS Ovens Collection


WAM 47


The submarine collection (1,000) is comprised an ex-Royal Australian Navy Oberon-class submarine HMAS Ovens, and associated materials: documents, clothes, possessions, books, mementos, bags, uniforms, and other paraphenalia used by submariners living onboard an Oberon submarine. This includes accoutrements of the galley, officers and crews messes. In addition are the extensive archives of technical material relating to HMAS Ovens as supplied by the Royal Australian Navy. Maritime History staff has also generated an extensive image collection documenting the demolition of HMAS Orion in 2008 as a record to assist with the conservation and preservation of HMAS Ovens and other Oberon submarines displayed in other Australian states.

The historical focus for collecting an Oberon submarine is the strategically important role Fremantle played as an allied submarine base during World War II when come 160 Dutch, American and British submarines undertook patrols from there. Between 1942 and 1945, on average, one allied submarine departed Fremantle for a patrol every three days. Some 11 submarines were lost after departing Fremantle, representing the loss of some 800 submariners' lives. The strategic role of Fremantle as a submarine base is further highlighted by the more recently relocation of Australia's submarine fleet to Garden Island north of Fremantle. The focus of the HMAS Ovens collection itself is to display the submarine as if the officers and crew still lived on board and use submarine's technology to highly aspects of marine sciences and technology.

Some material may be subject to copyright.

Viewable in exhibitions at WA Maritime Museum, WA Museum in Perth, Albany and Geraldton. Collection storage areas may be accessed by prior appointment.

Item descriptions, specifications, images, conservation & location history available through the WA Museum Maritime History Department's Research and Integrated Collection Management System.


20th century; Defence; Fremantle Slipway and Submarine Precinct; Garden Island; HMAS Ovens; Oberon; Watercraft

Documents; Military vehicles; Submarines; Uniforms; Watercraft

Factual texts; Maritime history; Navies; Submarines; Uniforms; Water transport

Marine & waterway places & structures; Military & nautical engineering; Naval officers; Navies; Submariners; Submarines

Royal Australian Navy

Coverage Spatial

International; Western Australia

Coverage Temporal



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2012-05-30 23:42

2011-03-31 00:17