- Churchill, Peter, Lieutenant Commander, RN (Rtd)
- History - general, Biographies and personal histories
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Parramatta I, HMAS Melbourne II, HMAS Sydney III
- December 1990 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Lew’s book on PARRAMATTA has photographs of these events, but not the crane having fallen through the lighter’s deck; it was very fortunate that nobody was hurt that day.
When the time eventually came, after several years of procrastination by the Parramatta Council, to unveil the stern section of the ship in Queen’s Park, the Mayor, making his speech of introduction, got his aldermen and his admirals hopelessly confused. Admiral V.A.T. Smith was the senior officer present on that particular occasion.
The little tin shed between the Signwriters’ Shop and the back of the Barracks Building became a general storehouse for the Society after all our various bits and pieces (and there were a lot of them) had to be shifted from the cupboards in the Personnel Building. Racks and racks of books, magazines, old pictures and historic photographs had to be sorted and sifted, and collected when needed.
During those early formative years, we had meetings all over the place; Johnnie’s in Grosvenor Street in the City was a favourite spot; a grand old building, full of Naval history.
We used to tote around an amplifier and a couple of loudspeakers, with miles of wire so they could be mounted in the most suitable position. One particular occasion I remember was the launching of Lew’s book on PARRAMATTA; he had invited RADM Doyle, who was her Engineer Officer in 1914; it was indeed an honour to meet him. The launch was made by Commodore ‘Red’ Merson.
We had one wonderful evening onboard MELBOURNE, and we got Austin Frauenfelder to come with us – he was a flying instructor before the formation of the RFC, and that’s a long time ago; he used to discourage his pupils from flying over the sea, as “they might get their feet wet”. He was one of the very few men who had actually flown the very aircraft in which Bleriot crossed the Channel on 25 July 1909. It was a 25-HP plane, of his own design, and the story goes that only because it was raining at the time did the engine keep cool enough on the way over.
The whole story of the Naval Historical Society is one of great credit to Lew Lind, the founder, first President and father of the Society which has gone from strength to strength since that first day in the classroom by the Post Office.