Reinvented for the 21st century, Pyrmont has become a vibrant residential, restaurant and entertainment district. The museum now stands at the centre of a public transport hub. Buses and ferries provide a service to Circular Quay.

Ongoing improvements

The Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse from North Queensland was reassembled on the north-east corner of the site and opened in 1994. With promenade decking from the front of the museum to Pyrmont Bay ferry wharf, the museum created its Welcome Wall along its northern boundary in 1999. Over 25,000 migrant names are recorded on this feature.

Also in 1999 we opened the Wharf 7 Maritime Heritage Centre next door to the main building. This three-storey structure houses collections, laboratories, workshops and the Vaughan Evans Library.

That year we opened the Peter Doyle Learning Centre for school groups, workshops and community use. New facilities including fleet workshops and staff amenities were added to the South Wharf in 2000 and new berths were created with the installation of the new Festival Pontoon and Heritage Pontoon. In 2011 we redeveloped our Eating and drinking and Venues, adding the Ben Lexcen Terrace and the Waterside Studio.

The next steps

When the museum opened it was on the northern fringe of the Darling Harbour retail and leisure precinct. Behind it lay the quiet inner-Sydney suburb Pyrmont with its defunct railway lines, wharves and industries. Pyrmont has since become a vibrant residential, restaurant and entertainment district.

Plans are now underway to redevelop the museum for the next 25 years. The first stage in the new masterplan was the addition of a Waterfront Pavilion built adjacent to HMAS Vampire and HMAS Onslow, which opened September 2015.

Future plans also include a new Discovery Centre, Endeavour Centre and the redevelopment of the museum’s core exhibitions..