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Program for the launching of HMAS ASSAIL

Date: 1967
Dimensions:
Overall: 207 x 167 mm
Medium: Paper, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift in memory of Samuel and Lyla Landau
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Program
Object No: ANMS1396[002]
Related Place:Brisbane,

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    Description
    This material, including ship's crests and plaques given as gifts during official visits and ceremonial items from the launching of vessels and projects, in addition to an official Naval Board hat and photographs, was collected during the high level public service career of Samuel Landau, CBE, (1915-1983). Samuel Landau's career began in the Department of Defence in 1936. As First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Defence, he worked as part of the elite War Cabinet Secretariat during WWII. He was privvy to the highest level of government decision making and in control of a significant amount of classified information and documents during this critical time in Australian history. Landau was awarded an OBE in 1960 for this role. From 1963 to 1973, Landau was Secretary of the Department of the Navy. It was during this time that Landau acquired the many ship's crests and plaques in this collection, presented as gifts during his official visits. In 1967, his wife Lyla Landau officially launched the RAN's Attack class patrol boat HMAS ASSAIL. The scissors she used to cut the official ribbon, and the souvenir ship's bell she was presented with, are also part of this collection. In 1966 Samuel Landau was awarded a CBE for his role as Secretary of the Navy. From 1974, Samuel Landau's career in the defence system took to him to the United States, where he was appointed Minister for Politico-Military Affairs at the Australian Embassy in Washington. Here he met with significant figures in the US defence force, including Lieutenant General Daniel O Graham of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who presented Landau with the souvenir lighter that is part of this collection.
    SignificanceThis material, including ship's crests and plaques given as gifts during official visits and ceremonial items from the launching of vessels, in addition to an official Naval Board hat and photographs, was collected during the high level public service career of Samuel Landau, CBE, (1915-1983). Samuel Landau's career began in the Department of Defence in 1936, and as First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Defence, he worked as part of the elite War Cabinet Secretariat during WWII. Landau was awarded an OBE in 1960 for this role. From 1963 to 1973, Samuel Landau was Secretary of the Department of the Navy, and in 1966 he was awarded a CBE. Prior to his retirement in 1976, Landau spent two years in the United States, where he was appointed Minister for Politico-Military Affairs at the Australian Embassy in Washington.
    HistorySamuel Landau was born in Melbourne, Victoria, on 19 January 1915 to Morris Landau and Hanchen Sarah Chodowski. Sam Landau married Lyla Reynolds, and they had two children - Marilyn and Naomi. He was a permanent and high level public servant, and was also a prominent member of the Canberra Jewish community. He passed away on 3 January 1983 in Canberra, ACT.

    Following education at Melbourne Boys High School, where he became school captain, he completed a Master of Arts Degree at Melbourne University. There is a record of military service for Samual Landau, voluntarily enlisted at the age of 18 in the Australian Military Forces, with service dates recorded from 8 August 1933 to 1 July 1936. It is unclear whether this was reserve training or similar during his University education. He joined the Department of Defence in 1936 as one of its first graduate entrants in Melbourne. He travelled with several Prime Ministerial delegations overseas as secretary of the delegations in 1941, 1944, and 1946 with Sir Robert Menzies, John Curtin and Benjamin Chifley. Landau was secretary to the ANZUS military representatives’ meeting at Pearl Harbor in 1952 and was a member of the Australian delegation to the Manila conference in 1954 and the Commonwealth Conference in London in 1955. He was appointed First Assistant Secretary in 1957. Sam attended in the Imperial Defence College in London in 1958.

    Landau joined the Defence Department in 1936 as Sir Frederick Shedden's administrative assistant. He was responsible for the smooth running of Shedden's office, Shedden was the Secretary of Defence with exacting standards, a demanding task which Landau apparently performed with great efficiency. During the years he worked in the Defence Department, he was involved at the highest levels in the behind the scenes administration of Australia's wartime decision making. Landau was one of five men who made up the working side of Australia's War Cabinet Secretariat. The War Cabinet Secretariat, headed by Shedden, was formed from a group of public servants in 1941 to provide administrative support to the War Cabinet and Advisory War Council. They worked as a team to record and process the proceedings of these meetings. They kept official files, recorded decisions, prepared agendas, minutes and other documents to be distributed safely and rapidly. Everything was classified and subject to the strictest security measures and procedures. Because the minutes recorded decisions at the highest level about defence policy and strategy they were regarded as vital records. The War Cabinet often met in Canberra, and occasionally Sydney, even though the headquarters of the three Services, the Department of Defence and the Central War Room were all located in Melbourne. When it travelled interstate its papers were transported under close guard.

    During this period, Landau was privy to and controlled access to some of the most important documents of the wartime administration. Landau was the custodian of Shedden's personal notes taken during War Cabinet and Advisory Council meetings, not usually available to others. Landau also had control over the secure Departmental strong-room where one of only three final signed copies made of the minutes of every single meeting, signed by Shedden and the Prime Minister, were held. The experience and dedication of the Secretariat has been widely acknowledged as invaluable during this critical period of Australian history. The Secretariat was disbanded in 1946?

    He continued working in the Defence Force until the early 1960s. On 1 January 1960, Landau was awarded 'The Order of the British Empire - Officer (Civil)', OBE(C), the citation for his role as 1st Assistant Secretary - Defence Department. On 28 October 1963 Landau was present and assisted in the ceremony to turn the first sod at the United States Navy Communications Station, at North West Cape, WA. His title as listed on the ceremonial plaques attached to the replica shovel is: Department of Defence, Canberra. The other ceremonial participants whose names are also recorded on the replica shovel are from the US Navy, the Premier of Western Australia, and the US Ambassador to Australia.

    In mid November 1963, Landau was appointed Secretary of the Department of the Navy, which also meant he was on the Naval Board. His Naval Board hat and official photographs of him in Naval Board meetings are part of the Landau collection. The hat features the official anchor insignia designed for the Naval Board and the Secretary of the Navy. Landau would have been one of the last Secretaries to have been able to wear and use this flag as it ceased to be used in February 1976. He was serving in this post during the VOYAGER affair of 1964 (investigations following the collision of HMAS VOYAGER and HMAS MELBOURNE), and was involved over the next few years in the multiple Royal Commissions, obtaining statements and reports etc. Samuel Landau is featured in a photograph of the Australian Naval Board held in the Australian War Memorial's collection, dating to 1965. The framed crest from HMAS NIRIMBA has a plaque attached which reads: To Commemorate Your Visit / On / 26th November 1963. Presumably Landau visited this shore establishment in perhaps one of his first visits in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of the Navy. NIRIMBA was commissioned as a Naval Air Station from 1/04/1953 to 28/02/1955, and then as a Naval Apprentice Training Establishment from 5/01/1956 to25/02/1994.

    On 11 June 1966, Samuel Landau was awarded The Order of the British Empire - Commander (Civil), CBE(C), the citation for his role as Secretary of the Department of the Navy. On 18 November 1967, Samuel’s wife Lyla launched the RAN’s Attack class patrol boat HMAS ASSAIL, at Evans Deakin & Co shipyard, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane QLD. She was presented with a souvenir of the event, a ship’s bell engraved with ship name and launch date, mounted on a stand with a plaque. The ship’s badge from ASSAIL and the framed drawing of ASSAIL by Ron Beattyman were likely also given as gifts to Sam or Lyla during his service as Secretary of the Navy. It is likely also that the badges from TS DERWENT and the Indonesian ship DEWARUTJI, and the plaques from RANC (Royal Australian Naval College) and the Chinese Midshipmen Cruise, were presented to Landau as gifts during official visits and functions during his tenure as Secretary of the Navy. The DEWARUTJI (also DEWARUCI) visited Australia on several occasions in the early 1970s so it may have been during this period that Landau received the plaque. The Chinese Navy visited Australia, stopping at Fremantle WA, in May 1969 and Rear Admiral Ting-Peng Liu was present at various welcome ceremonies and events. His name is on the plaque in Landau's collection.

    Despite Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's negative comments about Landau personally during the various VOYAGER debates in the 1960s, in November 1973 the Whitlam Government appointed Sam Landau as Minister (Politico-Military Affairs) at the Australian Embassy in Washington. He served in this position until his retirement in 1976. It is likely to have been during the period of his posting here that he visited and acquired gifts from the United States Navy and Marine Corps (the set of cufflinks and tie pin), and the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (Zippo lighter with agency’s emblem).


    HMAS ASSAIL
    Launched in 1967 by Mrs Lyla Landau, ASSAIL was commissioned into naval service on 12 July 1968. She was one of twenty Attack class patrol boats ordered for the RAN in November 1965. The Attack class were equipped with high-definition navigation radar, magnetic compasses, an echo sounder and air conditioning for service in northern Australian waters. Their primary role was to conduct patrol work in Australian territorial waters. ASSAIL was initially based in Sydney before relocating to Darwin in 1969. The design of this Attack Class Patrol Boat was based on the concept of using medium-range diesel vessels to replace short-range, petrol-driven timber craft. The hull is steel while the superstructure is aluminium. Lightly armed for small-scale encounters, with one 40 mm Bofors gun and two 0.5-inch machine guns to put warning shots across the bows of a suspect vessel. The ship's complement was 19 crew (3 officers and 16 sailors). It is powered by British Paxman engines and has American generators. A particular modification to the Attack class was the use of readily available commercial components in some of the fit-out. This was because of their need to operate in remote northern waters far from military bases, where their best supply source might be the hardware store of an isolated coastal town. In 1970 sister ships ASSAIL, ADVANCE and ATTACK formed the 3rd Australian Patrol Boat Squadron. During that time it weathered Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Soon after the Attack class was superceded by the larger Fremantle class patrol boat. In 1983 Assail home ported to Western Australia where she remained until 1985 before returning to Sydney. During her final year of commission in the RAN, ASSAIL conducted Bass Strait oil rig support patrols from Sydney before decommissioning in October 1985. ASSAIL was then transferred to the Indonesian Navy and re-named KRI SIGUROT.


    HMAS NIRIMBA
    NIRIMBA was commissioned as a Naval Air Station from 1/04/1953 to 28/02/1955, and then as a Naval Apprentice Training Establishment from 5/01/1956 to25/02/1994.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Program for the launching of HMAS ASSAIL

    Collection title: Samuel and Lyla Landau Collection

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