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HMAS AUSTRALIA (II)

Date: 1925-1956
Dimensions:
Overall: 222 x 342 x 2 mm
Overall (Photograph only): 153 x 260 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Tammy Foy
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00051282
Related Place:Atlantic Ocean, Clydebank, Lingayen Gulf, Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, Savo Island, Leyte Gulf, New Guinea, Pacific Ocean,

User Terms

    Description
    Photograph of HMAS AUSTRALIA (II), a County class heavy cruiser that served in World War II. Battle honours include the Atlantic 1940-41, Pacific 1941-1943, Coral Sea 1942, Savo Island 1942, Guadalcanal 1942, New Guinea 1942-44, Leyte Gulf 1944 and Lingayen Gulf 1945. The ship was attacked a number of times by Japanese kamikaze planes, one of which killed the commanding officer at the time, Captain Dechaineux.
    SignificancePhotograph of the highly decorated Flagship of the Australia Fleet involved in a number of significant operations during World War II.
    HistoryHMAS AUSTRALIA was a County class heavy cruiser built by John Brown & Co Ltd, Scotland, between 1925 and 1928, one of two ordered by the Australian Government as part of a five year naval development program. The sister ship was HMAS CANBERRA.

    AUSTRALIA was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy on 24 April 1928 under the command of Captain Francis H W Goolden, 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 on exchange duty. AUSTRALIA served with the British forces in the Mediterranean and took part in the July Jubilee Review at Spithead, returning to Australia 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 under the command of Captain Robert R. Stewart RN.

    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. In September 1940 the cruiser was involved in Operation Menace, patrolling off French West Africa and shadowing French cruisers. The purpose of the operation was to install General de Gaulle and a free French force in Dakar, evicting the Vichy government prior to German occupation. During this operation allied forces came under attack from shore, air and sea and AUSTRALIA sustained some minor damage. In December 1941 AUSTRALIA became the Flagship of the Australian Squadron and two months later Flagship of the ANZAC Squadron (later Task Force 44).

    The ship also served in leading roles at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Guadalcanal invasion, and the Battle of Leyte 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. It has been the cause of much speculation as it was either an accident or the first kamikaze attack by a Japanese plane.

    In January 1945 AUSTRALIA took part in its last war action, supporting the allied landings at Lingayen Gulf. Here the vessel was subjected to repeated kamikaze attacks, by then an established Japanese practice, which killed one officer and 41 ratings as well as wounding many more. AUSTRALIA underwent a major refit in the UK and stayed there for the remainder of the war, returning 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.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Mounted photograph of HMAS AUSTRALIA (II)

    Web title: HMAS AUSTRALIA (II)

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