- Richardson, G
- Ship histories and stories, WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Warrnambool I, HMAS Bendigo I, HMAS Cessnock I, HMAS Swan II, HMAS Colac, HMAS Townsville I, HMAS Broome, HMAS Warrego II, HMAS Arunta I, HMAS Katoomba, HMAS Hobart I, HMAS Lithgow, HMAS Bungaree, RAFA Kurumba, HMAS Stuart I, HMAS Ballarat I, HMAS Australia II
- June 1975 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
1.11.42. Arrived in Cleveland Bay about dawn and went alongside the Kurumba at 0730 for oil. Slipped at 0935 and came alongside the Arunta. Five bags of mail came on, and First Lieut. tells us we are leaving at 0400 for Brisbane. Happy faces on every side. Slipped at 1550 and headed out the bay. Now doing about 11.5 knots and expect to make Brisbane early Wednesday morning. I believe we are doing a month’s refit, so we are assured of at least two weeks’ leave.
2.11.42. At sea en route to Brisbane. The sea is like a millpond as we are still inside the reef and passing numerous islands. Mackay was passed about 1030, so we should soon be out of the tropics. Expect to arrive off Caloundra around 0600 Wednesday. The weather is delightful, calm sea, light breeze (no darned trades) and I’m so happy I’m worried. Seems too good to be true. However, time will tell.
3.11.42. Now out of the reef and heading into a calm swell. Heaved to at 1525 off Fraser Island as we are ahead of our schedule. Some of the hands are fishing as the ‘old man’ reckons you can’t dip out here. Should get under way about 1800. No, under way by 1730.
4.11.42. Passed the Glass House Mountains and now tearing full belt down Moreton Bay. Can nearly see the river. Went alongside Stanley St. wharf. Three weeks’ leave granted to ship’s company.
20.12.42. Refit over, proceeded to Moreton Bay to swing the compass. Have temporarily taken the LTO’s place. Going to sea tomorrow. Smokey died.
21.12.42. At sea with a convoy of three ships one of which is the Bungaree. Sea very rough, water coming inboard everywhere. Mess crockery smashed.
22.12.42. At sea, bound for Townsville outside the reef. Sea still very rough. She’s a great life!
23.12.42. Sea calmed down nicely. Christmas parcels distributed today. Expect to make Townsville about Christmas Day.
24.12.42. Inside the reef.
25.12.42. At sea. Queensland coast on our port hand. Just what we expected – Christmas Day at sea! Wouldn’t it? Only consolation is the big special dinner, which I probably won’t eat owing to the extreme heat. Sorry, my mistake. We tied up alongside the Stuart about 1215 and then went to a scrumptious dinner. Then the officers lashed us up to some bottles of beer, rum and gin and whisky, making quite a good party. Put to sea late in the afternoon, and I had a nasty headache. Oh, yes, we also picked up a new LTO so my worries have ceased. (Harry Penney.)
26.12.42. Crossing the Coral Sea en route to Moresby with two of the ships we brought from Brisbane. The sea is very calm at present, but it’s the cyclone season and the blasted storms blow up in a few minutes. The heat seems to be getting worse, or else my holiday in Toowoomba has thickened my blood. The boys seem a lot more contented now, but they’re a mob who won’t be pushed too far.
27.12.42. Sea is like glass and all in good spirits.
28.12.42. This is the best trip across so far, but enemy subs are believed active so a good watch is being kept. Arrived in Port Moresby about 1000. Harbour is full of ships and new wharves are being built. Went alongside the Greek ship and took off 18 Aussie soldiers, proceeded to our little berth. Recreation leave, had a swim in baths.
29.12.42. Still alongside. Sea water temperature is 84 degrees and it’s as hot now as it was in Singapore twelve months ago. Expect to go to sea about 0900 in the morning. Buna is the buzz. Colac received a thrashing round there the other night, at least she signalled that she was being attacked.
30.12.42. Ferried soldiers to and from ships nearly all day. The ‘Fighting First’ (AIF) is heading south on the Tasman. A group of natives paddled up and started diving for pennies, and the water looked so cool that several of the boys jumped in too, regardless of sharks. Not working tropical routine.
31.12.42. Sit down strike on messdeck in view of better working conditions. A proper routine was made out, but it’s not much of an improvement.