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Reproduced courtesy of Jon Reid

Two workers break apart the ships anchor chains into shorter lengths to facilitate testing and repair

Date: 2001
Image: 305 x 202 mm
Medium: Photographic print on archival fibre-based paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Jon Reid
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00044619
Related Place:Garden Island,

User Terms

    Jon Reid's photographic project captured the replenishment vessel HMAS SUCCESS undergoing refit in the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Garden Island, Sydney. This photograph depicts two workers breaking apart the ship's long anchor chains into shorter lengths to facilitate testing and repair.
    SignificanceThis photograph represents the importance of the Captain Cook Graving Dock to the Royal Australian Navy and highlights the skills of its workers.
    HistoryJon Reid's photographic project in 2001 showcases HMAS SUCCESS, a RAN offshore replenishment vessel, undergoing a refit at the Captain Cook Graving Dock, Garden Island, Sydney, NSW. As the largest graving dock in the southern hemisphere it is a strong military port for not only Australian ships but allied ones too. Reid's photographs show the importance of the dockyard to our current Navy in the continuation of the long tradition of caring for warships since it was first developed in the 19th century.

    Garden Island's European history dates from 1788 when the Royal Navy vessel HMS SIRIUS landed on the island to establish a naval presence (and vegetable garden) in Sydney Harbour as part of the arrival of the British First Fleet.

    The first enemy action and casualties occurred at the Island Dockyard on 31 May 1942 when a Japanese midget submarine sank the depot ship KUTTABUL, killing 21 sailors. A key feature of Garden Island is the preservation of the early naval buildings which are listed as Historic Buildings including the Barracks, Sail Loft, Rigging Shed, Battery Shop, Factory, Administration Building, Residences and Naval Stores. Through the construction of the Captain Cook Graving Dock, the island that is no more has become the major dockyard for this corner of the globe.

    The Captain Cook Graving Dock was built during war time in 1942 and accentuated the need for Australia to have its own working dock for the RAN as well as allied vessels. An assessment was undertaken of where the dock was to be built within Australia by a former Civil Engineer-in-Chief of the British Admiralty who was also responsible for the Singapore naval base, Sir Leopold Savile. Savile concluded that three sites would be suitable but that the Garden Island-Potts Point proposal would be the most cost-effective solution in constructing the largest dry dock in the southern hemisphere.

    The greatest engineering feat in Australia was underway involving the reclamation of 30 acres between Potts Point and Garden Island and the construction of the graving dock measuring 347.29 metres long, 45 metres wide and with 13.72 metres draught of water on sill at spring tide. The cofferdam was commenced in December 1940 and completed in February 1942. The fall of Singapore to the invading Japanese on 15 February 1942 added to the urgency of work as the dock at Singapore was now unavailable and Cockatoo Island was engaged in the construction of new ships for the Navy. The dock was ready for initial flooding in September 1944. Centrifugal pumps designed to discharge 320,493 litres per minute allowed the dock to be emptied of its 259,122,000 litres of water in about four hours. The construction was significantly advanced to allow the emergency docking of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS on 2 March 1945, three weeks before the official opening ceremony.

    The graving dock was named in honour of Captain James Cook RN and opened by the Governor General, the Duke of Gloucester on 24 March 1945. From HMS ILLUSTRIOUS' docking on 2 March 1945 to March 2004, the sixtieth anniversary of the dockyard, many vessels have used the facilities offered by the Captain Cook Graving Dock including 1,080 Royal Australian Navy dockings, 57 allied naval dockings, 425 support craft dockings and 160 commercial dockings.

    HMAS SUCCESS was designed along the lines of French Durance class ships in and built in Australia by Cockatoo Dockyard Pty Ltd at Sydney. SUCCESS was launched on 3 March 1984 by Her Excellency Lady Stephen and was commissioned into the RAN on 23 April 1986. SUCCESS is the largest ship built in Australia for the RAN and also the largest ship ever built in the port of Sydney.

    SUCCESS is an auxiliary oiler replenishment vessel and carries an American designed Westland Sea King helicopter produced in the United Kingdom. Its primary role is to provide support to the Fleet as a utility aircraft. SUCCESS supplies combat units with fuel, ammunition, food and stores whilst underway at sea. It is capable of day and night Replenishment at Sea (RAS) to ships alongside and concurrently by the embarked helicopter to other ships in company via Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP).
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Two workers break apart the ships anchor chains into shorter lengths to facilitate testing and repair

    Assigned title: Photograph of work during the multi-million dollar refit to offshore replenishment vessel HMAS SUCCESS at the Captain Cook Graving Dock, ADI Ltd Garden Island facility in Sydney, 2001.

    Web title: Two workers break apart the ship's anchor chains into shorter lengths to facilitate testing and repair.

    Related People
    Photographer: Jon Reid

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