Brisbane Open House
412 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
Saturday // 9.30am to 3.30pm
General access and guided tours

Visit the Queensland Maritime Museum and experience the heritage listed South Brisbane Dry Dock, historic HMAS Diamantina and the museum.

The South Brisbane Dry Dock is significant as a rare surviving example of 19th century shipping activity along the South Brisbane reach, and indicative of the massive scale of former riverside industry in Brisbane. It is a rare Australian example of an intact dry dock dating from the 19th century, illustrating contemporary engineering and technology. It is an important example of the work of engineer William Nisbet in Queensland, and is significant for its association with the contractors J & A Overend and the manufacturers RR Smellie & Co.

5,005 ships were docked for repair in the dock prior to its closure in 1973. It was a vital piece of infrastructure for the development of trade in Queensland for over 60 years, attracting shipping to the state and supporting the dredging fleet that was essential for the deepening of Queensland’s river ports. During WWII Brisbane was selected as the operating base for US submarines due to the presence of the dry dock. Over 50 submarines and 100 warships were repaired in the dock during WWII and Vice-Admiral Sir John Collins RAN noted that it was the crippling of the Japanese merchant fleet by the US submarines that saved Australia. The dry dock played an important role.

For a 25-year period from 1900 the dry dock also served as Brisbane’s major championship swimming venue. A 100-yard world record was set in the dock in 1903 by R Cavill. In 1915 Hawaiian world champion Duke Kahanamoku drew a crowd of 2,500 people to the dock to witness him swim. He is also credited with introducing surfboard riding to Australia.

The Queensland Maritime Museum was established by volunteers who took possession of the dry dock in 1973 with the assistance of the Brisbane City Council.


Guided Historical Walking Tours of South Brisbane // Saturday 13th October 2018 Sessions at 10.00am and 1.30pm // Book via or call 07 3844 5361 // Tickets $25 per head.  For more information click here.

Steam Teas & Guided Historical Walking Tours of the Steam Artefacts // Saturday 13th October 2018 at 10.30am // Book via or call 07 3844 5361 // Tickets $25 per head.  For more information click here.


What's Open

QMM and South Brisbane Dry Dock

Tour Information

Saturday Guided Tours
Times: Every half hour from 9.30am with last tour at 3.30pm
Duration: 20mins

Tour Tips

Limited wheelchair access // Enclosed shoes must be worn


Queensland Maritime Museum