SIMS is situated at Chowder Bay Mosman, a unique heritage listed, natural bushland site that rests on the shores of Sydney Harbour. Chowder Bay was named after whalers who made “chowder” from the bay’s abundant seafood but today SIMS is focused on researching the abundant marine life there.
The military presence in this area dates from the early nineteenth century. In the 1890s a base was built at Chowder Bay for the Submarine Mining Corps. Mines were attached to cables that went under the water from the bay to the other side of the Harbour. They were designed to be detonated if an enemy ship entered the Harbour.
In 1996 the Mosman based Headland Preservation Group actively campaigned to preserve the Chowder Bay and Georges Heights military depots from development. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust now manages this site.
In 2005, SIMS was established in buildings previously occupied by the Army’s Maritime Transport Wing.
Following a major upgrade of facilities funded through Federal and State governments and philanthropic trusts, SIMS now occupies a number of historic buildings under a long term lease from the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.