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HMAS AUSTRALIA (II) at Sutherland Dock, Cockatoo Island

Date: c 1928
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of John Watt
Object Name: Magazine clipping
Object No: ANMS0403[008]
Related Place:Cockatoo Island,

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    This magazine clipping features a photograph of HMAS AUSTRALIA (II) docked at Sutherland Dock, Cockatoo Island in Sydney. A caption beneath image reads:

    "Early on Monday morning HMAS AUSTRALIA was taken to Cockatoo Island to be inspected and overhauled. The flagship is the first vessel to be placed / in the Sutherland dock since it was enlarged..."

    The constuction of the Sutherland Dock was completed in 1890, and was modified in 1913 for the arrival of the Royal Australian Navy's first flagship HMAS AUSTRALIA (I), and again in 1928 for the arrival of HMAS AUSTRALIA (II).
    SignificanceThis magazine clipping is a record of the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS AUSTRALIA (II) at Sutherland Dock, Cockatoo Island after its widening.
    HistoryHMAS AUSTRALIA (II) was a County Class heavy cruiser built by John Brown & Co Ltd of Clydebank, Scotland and launched in March 1927. AUSTRALIA was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy on 24 April 1928, and four months later departed Portsmouth arriving in Sydney on 23 October. The vessel spent six years with the Australia Station, and in December 1934 sailed for England. AUSTRALIA served with the British forces until July 1936, and returned to Australia arriving in Sydney on 11 August 1936. The ship remained in Australian waters, with the exception of cruises to New Zealand and New Guinea between April and July 1937. On 24 April 1938, AUSTRALIA was paid off into Reserve, but was recommissioned in August 1939.

    During World War II, the ship's complement increased from 679 to 848, and AUSTRALIA conducted operations in the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans acting as a convoy escort and protecting shipping routes. The ship also served in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Guadalcanal invasion, the Battle of Leyte Gulf and allied landings at Lingayen Gulf.

    On 21 October 1944 AUSTRALIA was damaged when a Japanese fighter plane collided with the ship, killing the commanding officer Captain E F V Dechaineux and several others. Whether or not it was a kamikaze attack has been the subject of much speculation. After attacks in January 1945, AUSTRALIA underwent a major refit in the UK and stayed there for the remainder of the war. AUSTRALIA returned to Sydney on 16 February 1946. The cruiser was mainly used as a training ship, and was eventually sold for scrap in January 1955 and broken up at Barrow-in-Furness, UK in 1956.

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