- Ramsay, O.G.
- History - general, Ship design and development
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Waterhen, HMAS Anzac II, HMAS Arunta I, HMAS Anzac I, HMAS Hobart I, HMAS Bataan, HMAS Brisbane I, HMAS Brisbane II, HMAS Huon I, HMAS Warrego I, HMAS Yarra I, HMAS Warramunga I, HMAS Swordsman, HMAS Voyager I, HMAS Swan I, HMAS Vendetta I, HMAS Vendetta II, HMAS Quickmatch, HMAS Queenborough, HMAS Vampire I, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nepal, HMAS Nestor, HMAS Stuart I, HMAS Nizam, HMAS Perth II, HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Tasmania, HMAS Vampire II, HMAS Tobruk I, HMAS Quadrant, HMAS Hobart II, HMAS Success I, HMAS Stalwart I, HMAS Tattoo, HMAS Norman I, HMAS Torrens I, HMAS Duchess, HMAS Quality, HMAS Voyager II, HMAS Parramatta I, HMAS Perth III
- March 1991 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
From Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney, NSW, came the first Australian built Destroyers since 1912-1916 (HUON – TORRENS (1) – SWAN (1)), now HMA Ships ARUNTA, BATAAN and WARRAMUNGA.
They were Tribal Class Destroyers of 2,670 tons, 377ft in length, 36½ft beam, and a draught of 15½ft. Armament 6×4.7″ guns in three mountings, 2×4″, 7 smaller, depth charges (2 throwers), 4×21″ torpedoes. Speed 36 knots and a complement of 250. Built at a cost of £500,000.
ARUNTA commissioned in April 1942, and in Operations, began immediately on the East Coast of Australia with escort and convoy duties, and to the Islands in the New Guinea area. ARUNTA with her newly commissioned sister ship WARRAMUNGA also worked in that area till joining Task Force 74 stationed in the Coral Sea, in company with HMA Ships AUSTRALIA and HOBART. When HOBART was torpedoed (and after temporary repairs), the two destroyers escorted her from Espiritu Santo back to Sydney in August 1943. After refitting early 1944, both ships returned to North Pacific and Task Force 74, in support of General MacArthur’s return to the Philippines. While ARUNTA sailed to Sydney for a major refit in July 1945, WARRAMUNGA and the recently commissioned BATAAN sailed for the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on 2nd September 1945.
All three ships began routine patrols, cruises and exercises in Japanese and Pacific waters from 1945, till in 1950 with the outbreak of the Korean War, it ended the peacetime routines. BATAAN (and HMAS SHOALHAVEN) under United Nations control, carried out escort duties and A/S sweeps for convoys to the Port of Pusan. BATAAN and WARRAMUNGA returned to Korean waters in 1952. ARUNTA, back in Australia from July 1950 to May 1953, was reconstructed as an anti-submarine destroyer.
BATAAN was also scheduled to be reconstructed as an A/S Destroyer, after going into Reserve in 1954, but the programme was cancelled in 1957, and she was sold for scrapping in 1958.
WARRAMUNGA also completed a similar conversion to ARUNTA (between 1952 and 1954), and both these ships served with other RAN units until ARUNTA was placed in Reserve in 1957. WARRAMUNGA served on till 1959, then to Reserve, to be sold to Japanese interests in January 1963 and subsequently scrapped. ARUNTA was the last survivor of the Class, in Reserve from 1957 till 1969 then she was sold for scrapping to China Steel Corp of Taiwan. ARUNTA left Sydney under tow 12th February 1969, developed a list, and rolled over and sank off Broken Bay (NSW) the next day.
Then followed two more Australian built destroyers, HMAS ANZAC (2), built in Williamstown Dockyard, Victoria and HMAS TOBRUK built at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney, NSW. Both ships were laid in 1946, with TOBRUK commissioning on 8th May 1950, followed by ANZAC on 14th March 1951.
These were Battle Class destroyers (sister ships to the Royal Navy’s Battle Class) of 3,400 tons, 379ft overall, beam 41ft, and a 17½ft draught. Armament 4 4.5″ guns in twin turrets forward, 12x40mm A.A. guns, 10×21″ torpedoes. Speed 31 knots, complement 290 officers and ratings. Cost £2,500,000.
Following trial and working up exercises in Australian waters, ANZAC and TOBRUK departed Sydney for Japan, and then joined United Nations Forces in the Korean War.
ANZAC returned to Williamstown to refit, then remained in Australian waters till 1952. She departed again for a second Korean tour of duty, ending June 1953, when ANZAC returned to Sydney after an absence of 305 days. ANZAC refitted again November 1953, and then was escort ship to the Royal Yacht GOTHIC during the Royal Visit to the Queensland ports in 1954.
TOBRUK commenced war service in October 1951 in Korean waters and featured on escort duties especially with the US Carrier RENDOVA, and later teaming up with our carrier HMAS SYDNEY, for the first time. In November TOBRUK completed a second patrol, mainly with SYDNEY, returning to Australia via Sasebo, in Japan, in February 1952 after a tour of 39,000 miles. In September TOBRUK escorted SYDNEY to Manus Island, and later to the Monte Bello Islands to witness the first British atomic tests. TOBRUK again returned to Korea in June 1953, there through the Armistice, remaining till January 1954, and returning to Australia after steaming another 26,000 miles on her second tour.