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The sinking of HMAS TORRENS I

Date: 24 November 1930
Medium: Emulsion on glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Glass plate negative
Object No: 00035028
Place Manufactured:Sydney Heads

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    Having served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1916, latterly as a training platform for the Naval Reserve, HMAS TORRENS I was decommissioned and prepared as a target for Fleet Gunnery Practice. On 24 November 1930 Samuel J Hood, who was probably on board HMAS ANZAC, photographed the sinking of TORRENS off Sydney Heads. TORRENS can be seen on the left with the tug HEROIC on the right. The smoke billowing out of the vessel possibly indicates the moment after the final gelignite charges, laid by the crew of HMAS CANBERRA, were detonated.
    SignificanceThe Samuel J Hood photographic collection records an extensive range of maritime activity on Sydney Harbour, including sail and steam ships, crew portraits, crews at work, ship interiors, stevedores loading and unloading cargo, port scenes, pleasure boats and harbourside social activities from the 1890s through to the 1950s. They are also highly competent artistic studies and views - Hood was regarded as an important figure in early Australian photojournalism. Hood’s maritime photographs are one of the most significant collections of such work in Australia.
    HistoryHMAS TORRENS I (D67), named for the River Torrens, was a River class torpedo boat destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), one of six built between 1909 and 1916. During World War I they formed the Australian Destroyer Flotilla - HMA Ships HUON, PARRAMATTA, SWAN, WARREGO, YARRA and TORRENS.

    TORRENS was laid down by the Cockatoo Island Docks and Engineering Company in Sydney on 25 January 1913, launched on 28 August 1915 by Lady Helen Munro-Ferguson, wife of Governor-General Ronald Munro-Ferguson, and commissioned into the RAN on 3 July 1916 under the command of Lieutenant Kenneth P Dalglish RN. The ship started sea service as part of the British Far East Patrol, based firstly at Sandakan, Borneo and then Singapore. Their duties were to patrol the Malayan Archipelago.

    1917 saw the Flotilla proceed to the Mediterranean for escort duties, anti-submarine exercises and patrol work. They returned to Australia after an arduous war service in 1919. Home duties included fleet cruises and escort duty to HMS RENOWN (Prince of Wales visit) in 1920. Soon after, TORRENS was paid off into the Reserve and based at Westernport and Port Adelaide for Royal Australian Navy Reserve training. Finally paid off on 12 May 1926, TORRENS was sent to Sydney for naval reserve training with a Care and Maintenance Party.

    The vessel was towed off Sydney Heads on 24 November 1930 and sunk as a target during Fleet Gunnery Practice. A correspondent for the 'Sydney Morning Herald' reported on witnessing the sinking of the 'war veteran' from HMAS ANZAC. The vessel had been stripped and towed out to its place of burial by the tug HEROIC, who had, six years previously, also participated in towing Australia's first naval flagship HMAS AUSTRALIA I to Sydney Heads for scuttling. The County class cruiser HMAS CANBERRA and the sea-plane carrier HMAS ALBATROSS fired the artillery rounds required to sink TORRENS.
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