On This Day:

All entries

23 Apr 1985

The prestigious Royal Geographic Society of Australia’s J. P. Thompson Foundation Gold Medal, was awarded to the survey vessel, HMAS FLINDERS, (LCDR G. J. Bond, RAN), for the survey of, and production of, a new chart for a recently discovery passage through the Great Barrier Reef near Mackay. This passage was named Hydrographers Passage.

24 Apr 1985

A civilian workman was killed onboard the ex-HMAS MELBOURNE, (aircraft carrier), berthed at Garden Island Dockyard, SYDNEY. He fell from the flight deck into the hangar when the aircraft hoist was lowered. He was part of a team preparing MELBOURNE for towing to China for breaking up.

27 Apr 1985

The former aircraft carrier HMAS MELBOURNE, departed Sydney under tow by the Chinese tug DE PING. She was bound for Canton, (Guangzhou), to be broken up. Despite inclement weather, hundreds of former crew members lined the foreshore to see her leave Sydney Harbour for the last time.

30 Apr 1985

CDRE John Matthews, RAN, (Retired), was appointed as the Administrator for Norfolk Island.

The ex aircraft carrier, HMAS MELBOURNE, was towed in to Moreton Bay, QLD, when heavy winds and strong seas threatened to break her tow. The ship was bound for China to be broken up.

03 May 1985

RADM I. W. Knox was appointed Flag Officer Commanding Her Majesty’s Australian Fleet.

31 May 1985

The Fremantle class patrol boat HMAS WOLLONGONG, (LCDR I. Gulliver, RAN), was extensively damaged when she ran aground at Gabo Island during a storm. LCDR Gulliver was court-martialled, and found guilty of negligence in grounding his ship. WOLLONGONG was later repaired and rejoined the fleet in late 1986.

07 Jun 1985

The Naval Forces, (Women’s Services), Regulations were repealed and all members of the RANNS and WRANS were amalgamated with the RAN.

13 Jun 1985

HMAS MELBOURNE, (aircraft carrier), reached China under tow. The Chinese Navy telexed the following message: ‘Pls B advised that HMAS MELBOURNE arrived at Port Huangpu intact n safely afloat, proud n majestic. She has bn innocent, never once bowed to the natural or human force, in spite of the heavy storm n the talked abt jinx.’

30 Jun 1985

The uniformed strength of the RAN was 15,536 officers and ratings.

16 Jul 1985

HMAS BENDIGO, became the first patrol boat to circumnavigate Australia.

01 Aug 1985

CAPT F. N. Cook, DSC, RAN, died in Sydney. He distinguished himself in operations in Occupied France in WWII.

02 Sep 1985

A RAN Sea King helicopter, piloted by LCDR T. King, USN, rescued the crew of the yacht VOSS in heavy seas off Newcastle NSW

06 Sep 1985

The first official rum issue made in a ship of the RAN in 30 years, was made to the crew of HMAS HOBART, (guided missile destroyer), at Victoria, British Columbia. HOBART was representing Australia at the 75th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy

18 Sep 1985

A naval court martial convened at HMAS PENGUIN, Sydney, found the Commanding Officer of HMAS WOLLONGONG, (patrol boat), guilty of negligence in grounding his ship off Gabo Island on 31 May, 1985.

19 Sep 1985

The strength of the RAN’s heavy landing ship squadron was cut by half when HMA Ships TARAKAN, WEWAK, and BALIKPAPAN, were decommissioned

28 Sep 1985

The RAN, Port Authorities, and shipping lines, participated in Operation Bell Buoy, a world-wide exercise to standardise procedures in the naval control of commercial shipping in states of emergency.

09 Oct 1985

Service in HMA Ships SYDNEY, JEPARIT, and BOONAROO, (troop supply ships), was accepted as ‘war service’ in the Vietnam War, under the terms of the Repatriation Act.

11 Oct 1985

HMAS CURLEW, (mine hunter), and RAN Clearance Divers recovered the bodies from the Pel-Air freighter aircraft which had crashed into Botany Bay, Sydney.

13 Oct 1985

The guided missile destroyer HMAS PERTH, (CAPT G. Sloper, RAN), rescued the crew of the Singaporean ship HOE LIEN, in mountainous seas off Newcastle, NSW. PERTH took the ship in tow and proceeded towards Sydney. The tow was passed to the tug WONGA the next morning, however HOE LIEN later sunk 30 miles north of Sydney.

18 Oct 1985

HMAS ASSAIL, the last of the RAN’s Attack class patrol boats still in commission, was transferred to the Indonesian Navy as a gift.

23 Oct 1985

A gas leak from a sullage tank in HMAS STALWART, (escort maintenance ship), caused the death of three sailors. Another fifty of the ship’s crew were affected by the gas, and required medical the treatment.

01 Nov 1985

HMAS CANBERRA, (guided missile frigate), shadowed the Russian ship FRUNZE, (guided missile cruiser), in the South China Sea. FRUNZE was on passage to Cam Ranh Bay.

02 Nov 1985

HMAS CANBERRA, (guided missile frigate), signalled the Russian ship FRUNZE, (guided missile frigate), which she had shadowed CANBERRA for three days in the South China Sea; ‘Happy 68th Birthday, (of the Russian Revolution). We leave you in peace.’ FRUNZE replied: ‘Thank you very much for your co-operation. I wish you a pleasant voyage.’

A commemorative plaque for 386 officers and 1,286 men, trained in anti-submarine procedures at the Anti-Submarine School, HMAS RUSHCUTTER, between 1938 and 1945, was unveiled by CAPT Newcomb, RAN (Ret.), at the Garden Island Naval Chapel, Sydney.

03 Nov 1985

A Naval Board Instruction was promulgated in ships and establishments of the RAN banning homosexuals in the service.

22 Nov 1985

HMAS YARRA, (destroyer escort), was decommissioned into reserve. YARRA was sold 1991, and broken up in 1992.

25 Nov 1985

An American Remote Controlled Undersea Vehicle conducted a search of the sea floor of St. George’s Channel at Simpsonhaven, New Britain for the wreck of the Australian submarine AE1, lost on 14 September 1914. The search was unsuccessful.

28 Nov 1985

HMAS OVENS, (Oberon class submarine), made the first of the RAN’s sub-surface firings of the UGM48 Harpoon anti-ship missile. This was also the first Harpoon firing from a conventional submarine. A direct hit was scored on a distant, small remotely-controlled surface target on the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility near Hawaii, USA.

29 Nov 1985

HMAS YARRA, (destroyer escort), was paid off into reserve at Sydney.

06 Dec 1985

HMAS STALWART, (maintenance ship), made an emergency voyage to Macquarie Island for ANARE to land Christmas stores for the staff, when the Antarctic supply ship NELLA DAN developed defects.

16 Dec 1985

HMAS SUPPLY, (fleet oiler), was paid off into reserve at Sydney.

24 Jan 1986

Editors Note:

This event was incorrectly tagged as have occurred on 24 January 1986.

This was incorrect, the event occurred on 24 October 1986.
An automatic redirection has been created.

The Royal Australian Navy opened its 75th Year Anniversary celebrations with a ceremonial fleet entry into Sydney Harbour. A giant White Ensign towed by a Sea King helicopter led the entry.

28 Jan 1986

HMA Ships HOBART, SYDNEY, PARRAMATTA, DERWENT, and VAMPIRE, and aircraft of No.817 Squadron were dispatched to search for an F111 bomber which crashed into the sea off Bateman’s Bay, NSW.

04 Feb 1986

HMA Ships IPSWICH, DUBBO, CAIRNS, and BENDIGO, (patrol boats), assessed the damage and rendered assistance to civil authorities in Northern Australia in the wake of Cyclone Winifred.

07 Mar 1986

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presented new Royal Colours to the RAN at a ceremony held at HMAS CRESWELL.

17 Mar 1986

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, unveiled the National Naval Memorial at Canberra.

23 Apr 1986

The auxiliary oiler replenishment ship HMAS SUCCESS, (CAPT J. G. Longden, RAN), was commissioned. SUCCESS was laid down at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, and launched on 3 March 1984. Lady Helen Stephen, (Wife of the Governor General), performed the launching ceremony. SUCCESS was the last RAN ship to be built in Cockatoo Island Dockyard.

23 May 1986

HMA Ships STALWART, FLINDERS, BRUNEI, and BETANO, were dispatched to the Solomon Islands to render assistance, following a cyclone in the area.

26 May 1986

HMA Ships STALWART, FLINDERS, BETANO, and BRUNEI, assisted by men from RAN Clearance Diving Team 2, were involved in providing equipment and support to the people of the Solomon Islands, in the wake of Cyclone Nama.

13 Aug 1986

HMAS VAMPIRE, (destroyer), decommissioned at Garden Island, Sydney, for disposal.

15 Sep 1986

The first Cabinet Meeting of the Australian Government held at sea was convened by the Prime Minister, Mr. R. G. Hawke, in the flagship of the RAN, HMAS STALWART.

'On This Day' is based on the book "Navy Day by Day: Historic Naval Events in Australia and Abroad" written by the late Lew Lind. More information.

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