1960-1975 > Vietnam era
HMAS BANKS, (general purpose vessel), was commissioned. BANKS was laid down at Walker’s Yard, Maryborough, QLD in 1959, and launched on 15 December 1959. She and her sister ship BASS, had a varied career in the RAN alternating from RANR training ships, survey work, and navigation training for Midshipman and Senior Sailors.
HMAS QUICKMATCH, (frigate), was dispatched from Darwin to search for survivors from the Indonesian lugger SEMANGAT BARU. The wreck of the vessel was found 400 miles south of Bathurst Island, One survivor was picked up.
Whilst in the China Sea HMAS MELBOURNE lost an XA359 Gannet aircraft. The aircraft lost on engine whilst being catapulted and ditched ahead of the ship. LCDR Rowland was the pilot, and LEUT’s Horton and Findlay observers. Rowland was rescued by the SAR Sycamore helicopter, Horton and Findlay by HMS CAVALIER, and later transfered to MELBOURNE.
HMAS BASS, (general purpose vessel), was commissioned.
HMA Ships WARREGO, (sloop), and KIMBLA, (trials vessel), with Clearance Diving Teams, recovered bodies and wreckage from a Fokker Friendship airliner which crashed with the loss of 29 lives in the sea off Mackay, QLD.
The first Junior Recruits, (boys aged between 15 and 17), commenced training at HMAS LEEUWIN, at Fremantle WA. The scheme was designed to provide boys with a year of academic and basic naval training, before they were sent to other bases for specialist training. The scheme continued until 1984, and over 12,000 Junior Recruits graduated from LEEUWIN during that 24-year period. Many went on to lengthy careers in the RAN, with a large number reaching commissioned rank. In many ways the Junior Recruit concept and training was modeled on the boys training ship HMAS TINGIRA, (1912-27), which had trained boys between the ages of 14 and 16 for service in the RAN.
The state of emergency in Malaya is formally lifted after 12 years in force.
HMA Ships QUIBERON and VAMPIRE represented Australia at the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of North Borneo
A shell fired by HMAS ANZAC in gunnery exercises off Jervis Bay hit the hull of HMAS TOBRUK.
HMAS WOOMERA, (ammunition ship), was lost when dumping obsolete ammunition at sea, off Sydney Heads. A violent explosion, followed by a fierce fire, caused WOOMERA to sink in a few minutes. Two of the crew were killed in the explosion, but the other 25 were picked up by HMAS QUICKMATCH, (frigate). While in the sea the survivors were attacked by albatrosses.
HMAS TOBRUK, (Battle class destroyer), was paid off for disposal in Sydney. TOBRUK served with distinction in Korea, and was commended by RADM A. K. Scott-Moncrieff, who reported: ‘She has carried out pin-point bombardments on both coasts of Korea and hit trains, railways, bridges and troop concentrations. She has made her presence known to Communist Forces in Korea’.
HMAS DIAMANTINA, (oceanographic survey ship), was present at the unveiling of a memorial to the HMAS SYDNEY- German raider EMDEN action at Cocos Island.
HMAS QUICKMATCH, (frigate), rescued 43 Indonesian seamen from a sinking vessel 45 miles east of Singapore.
The Explorer class general purpose vessel HMAS BASS, (LEUT G. Kennedy, RAN), was commissioned. BASS was laid down in Walker’s Yard, Maryborough, QLD, in 1959, and launched on 28 March 1960.
The hulk of HMAS PENGUIN, (composite screw corvette), was burnt at Kerosene Bay, Sydney.
HMA Ships, ARARAT, COWRA, FREMANTLE, GYMPIE, ROCKHAMPTON, and STRAHAN, (minesweepers), were sold out of service for breaking up. GYMPIE was broken up at Sydney and the other ships in Japan.
HMAS VENDETTA, (destroyer), took off 12 passengers from the Shaw Savill freighter RUNIC, aground on Middleton Reef, QLD.
The Navy Memorial Chapel at HMAS WATSON, (shore base, Sydney), was dedicated.
HMA Ships BUNDABERG and BUNBURY, (minesweepers), were sold out of service for breaking up in Japan.
RAN clearance divers cleared underground ducts in tunnels of the Snowy Mountains Authority’s project at Lake Eucumbene, NSW. The team worked in depths of 80 metres in freezing conditions to clear a 23 km tunnel system leading to the Tumut River.
The British First Sea Lord, Lord Carrington, announced British plans for the creation of powerful naval and commando forces in the Far East in conjunction with the RAN.
HMAS STUART, (destroyer escort), was launched at Cockatoo Island, Sydney.
HMAS DERWENT, (destroyer escort), was launched at Williamstown, VIC.
The nuclear-powered submarine USS SARGO, visited Sydney for Coral Sea Week celebrations.
The Chilean Navy’s ESMERALDA, (barquentine), visited Sydney. The training ship was the first large sailing vessel to call at the port for ten years.
HMAS MELBOURNE used the RAN-devised Bailey Bridge loading ramp for aircraft carriers at Garden Island, Sydney. The ramp greatly reduced the time required for loading.
The River class destroyer escort HMAS PARRAMATTA, (CMDR G. R. Griffiths, DSC, RAN), was commissioned. PARRAMATTA was laid down in Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, 3 January 1957, and launched on 31 January 1959. Lady Dowling, (Wife of ADML Sir Roy Dowling, RAN, Chief of the Naval Staff), performed the launching ceremony.
The River class destroyer escort, (ex-type 12 frigate), HMAS YARRA, (CMDR J. L. W. Merson, RAN), was commissioned. YARRA was laid down in Williamstown Dockyard, VIC on 9 April 1957, and launched on 30 June 1958. Lady McBride, (Wife of Sir Philip McBride, Minister for Defence), performed the launching ceremony.
The K13 Memorial Park was dedicated at Carlingford, in northern Sydney. The memorial was the idea of ex-Leading Telegraphist Charles Freestone, who had served in the ill fated HMS K13, which had sunk with heavy loss of life in January 1917. He later emigrated to Australia, and became a wealthy businessman. Freestone died in 1958 before the memorial was completed, but his widow ensured that it was finished. Although dedicated to the submarine K 13, the memorial has become the place of remembrance for all Commonwealth officers and sailors who have lost their lives while serving in submarines. A memorial service, by the Australian Submarine Squadron, is held there every year on 11 November.
RAN Clearance Divers operating from HMAS KIMBLA, and the diving tender WALRUS, salvaged vital parts of a Viscount civil airliner, which had crashed with the loss of 15 lives into Botany Bay, NSW.
RADM A. W. R. McNicoll, CBE, GM, was appointed Flag Officer Commanding Her Majesty’s Australian Fleet.
Divers discovered the wreck of MV FAIR WIND at the entrance to the Macleay River, NSW. The vessel was under charter to the RAN for surveying in New Guinea waters and vanished without trace in 1950 while on passage from Port Moresby to Sydney.
HMAS COOTAMUNDRA, (minesweeper), was sold out of service for breaking up.
VADM Sir Wilfred Hastings Harrington, DSO, CBE, KBE, was appointed as Chief of Naval Staff.
The former cruiser HMAS HOBART departed Sydney under tow for breaking up in Japan.
HMAS SYDNEY was commissioned as a fast troop transport under CAPT R. I. Peek, OBE, DSC, RAN.
HMAS MACQUARIE, (frigate), was sold out of service for breaking up in Japan.
The first Japanese warships to visit Australia since WWII, arrived at Sydney. The Squadron comprised of Japanese Ships TERUZUKI, ARIAKE, YUGURE, and HARUSAMU, (destroyers).
The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS HAWK, (CMDR D. A. Ross, RAN), was commissioned. HAWK, (as HMS GAMSTON, renamed SOMERLEYTON), was laid down in Richards Ironworks Ltd, Lowestoft, England, in June 1953, and launched on 17 September 1955. She was purchased for the RAN in 1962.
The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS GULL, (LEUT A. L. Beaumont, RAN), was commissioned. GULL, (as HMS SWANSTON), was laid down in J. S. Doig Ltd, Grimsby, England, in August 1953, and launched on 1 July 1954. In 1962 she was purchased for the RAN.