- Thurston, H. J.
- Ship histories and stories
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Tingira, HMAS Sydney I
- September 1979 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Farmer and Settler, a newspaper of high standing, published an article on the boys in 1926:-
‘Much misconception exists concerning the good ship Tingira. There are persons still so far behind the times to imagine her to be a hulk whereupon are confined for corrective purposes, the wayward youth of the city. And those misguided folk pass on their placid way, not taking the trouble to learn that on her broad decks are being trained the most highly skilled defenders of Australia’s shores. Boys from the best Australian homes, boys from the great public schools, from the outback spaces and from the city’s heart, who will pass into the navy, that is to be our bulwark against aggression’.
Many of these boys were to serve their country with distinction in World Wars I and II as well as the Korean campaign.
Indeed, Australia was shocked when it was known that a draft of ex-HMAS Tingira boys had been in HMAS Sydney during her action off Cocos Island, on 8th November 1914, when she sank the German raider Emden. There had been young German boys in the Emden also – and to this day, a strong bond of naval comradeship exists between Australia and Germany. A representative of the German Consulate is always an honoured guest at HMAS Tingira Old Boys Association’s Annual Dinner, in Sydney.
This bond of friendship initiated in HMAS Tingira forms the basis of a continuing, caring association of old shipmates. The Association’s journal of the NSW Branch proudly displays this statement on its cover – ‘In strength and unity, this Association will stand forever’.
The winds of change were certainly blowing in the late 1920’s and the Navy decided to stop the ‘boy’ training system and institute the direct entry system. So on 27th June 1927 HMAS Tingira was decommissioned. She had nestled in Rose Bay for 15 years and since 1892 had been home to over 6,000 boys.
In 1929, at the age of 63 she was bought by Mr. W.M. Ford, a prominent boat builder and floated outside his boatshed in Berry’s Bay. Mr. Ford died in 1935 and in 1936 Major Friere and Mrs. Ankin negotiated to purchase her for the sum of £2,600, and a company was formed to convert the ship into a floating museum, but because of financial difficulties this development failed.
HMAS Tingira, ex Sobraon, was at last purchased by Mr. Karlo Selvinen who finally broke her up in Berry’s Bay in 1942.