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Appreciation plaque showing USS VICTORIA in the shape of a lifebuoy

Date: 1942
Dimensions:
Overall: 45 x 420 mm, 4070.7 g (4070.7 g)
Medium: Copper, metal and rope
Credit Line: Gift from Sydney Training Depot Snapper Island Ltd.
Object Name: Copper plaque
Object No: 00046823

User Terms

    Description
    Originally named the SS GEORGE G HENRY it underwent an extensive conversion, overhaul, and fit-out for naval service at Mort's Dock and Engineering Co. (Chapman's Branch) under the supervision of Royal Australian Naval authorities at Garden Island. George G. Henry was renamed USS VICTORIA when taken into the US Navy.

    This copper plaque was made by the crew of the USS VICTORIA as a token of appreciation to the Grand Central Hotel where they were billeted while work was undertaken for the conversion.
    SignificanceFollowing the completion of the conversion, VICTORIA operated off the coasts and harbors of the Australian continent, ranging from Townsville to Cairns; from Brisbane to Dunk Island Harbor; from Sydney to Stoker Bay, Flinders Island; and to the Queensland ports of Mackay and Gladstone. During that time, the ship picked up the nickname "The Galloping Ghost of the Aussie Coast".
    HistoryUSS VICTORIA (AO-46) was an oiler for the United States Navy in World War II. The ship was built in 1917 as SS George G. Henry in San Francisco for the Los Angeles Petroleum Company. During World War I, the ship was requisitioned by the U.S. Navy and employed as USS George G. Henry (ID-1560). Between the two world wars and at the beginning of the second, it served as a civilian tanker, initially under American registry but later under Panamanian registry.

    On 15 April 1942, while at Yarraville, a suburb of Melbourne, the GEORGE G HENRY was taken over by the Navy under a bareboat charter. The ship's master, Capt. Jens G. Olsen (who, incidentally, had sailed in GEORGE G HENRY as a boatswain and had been the last civilian crewman to leave the ship when it was taken over by the Navy in World War I. As a member of the Naval Reserve he was called to active duty as a lieutenant commander and given command of the ship.

    Taken to Sydney for extensive conversion, overhaul, and fitting-out for naval service, GEORGE G HENRY was first renamed—erroneously—VICTOR on 20 April, before the correct name, VICTORIA , was received upon the ship's arrival at Sydney on 25 April. Classified as AO-46, USS VICTORIA was fitted out for service at Mort's Dock and Engineering Co. (Chapman's Branch) under the supervision of Royal Australian Naval authorities at Garden Island. Survivors from USS LANGLEY (AV-3), USS PEARY (DD-226), and USS PECOS (AO-6) made up the ship's new crew.

    Following the completion of the conversion, during which it received a battery of two 3-inch guns and machine guns, USS VICTORIA awaited further orders in Sydney Harbour. It got underway on 18 November 1942 with a cargo of Navy special fuel. It reached Brisbane, via Townsville, and commenced fueling Allied warships in those waters and continued those duties at Challenger Bay, Palm Islands. The ship subsequently alternated serving at Challenger Bay and at Dunk Island Harbor before returning to Brisbane on Christmas Eve and remained there through New Year's Day 1943.

    Shifting to Townsville and for the next eight months, VICTORIA operated off the coasts and harbors of the Australian continent, ranging from Townsville to Cairns; from Brisbane to Dunk Island Harbor; from Sydney to Stoker Bay, Flinders Island; and to the Queensland ports of Mackay and Gladstone. During that time, the ship picked up the nickname "The Galloping Ghost of the Aussie Coast".



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