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Photograph depicting Ship's company, HMAS AUSTRALIA II

Date: 1934
Overall: 150 × 212 mm
Medium: Photograph, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS1445[068]

User Terms

    Black-and-white photograph of ship's company aboard HMAS Australia (II), 1934. This object is one of a large collection of documents, photographs, uniforms, ship badges and ephemera associated with the Royal Australian Navy service of brothers William Cook and Frederick Cook. Both men entered service prior to the Second World War, were seconded to the Royal Navy, and underwent training at Greenwich and Portsmouth. Frederick Cook later gained fame as the only Australian survivor of HMS Royal Oak, torpedoed by a German U-boat in October 1939. William Cook was the youngest commander of an Australian destroyer during the Second World War, and was First Lieutenant of HMAS Wyatt Earp, the primary research vessel for the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition in 1947-48.
    SignificanceThis photograph of HMAS Australia (II) dates to the immediate pre-Second World War period and compliments William Cook's chronicle (as related in his Midshipman's Journal) of the warship's voyage to England and the Mediterranean between January 1934 and July 1936. Dateable photographs of Australian warships (and their crews) during the interwar years are relatively rare. No photographs of HMAS Australia's ship's company exist in the ANMM's collections.

    William Cook had a distinguished naval career, and served aboard notable Australian warships during the Second World War, including HMAS Perth (I), HMAS Voyager (I) and HMAS Nizam. He was mentioned in despatches for his service aboard Voyager during the Greek campaign in 1941. Awarded command of Nizam at the age of 28, Cook became the youngest Australian to command a destroyer during the conflict. He was later present at Tokyo Bay (while in command of Nizam) during the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on 2 September 1945. He later served as First Lieutenant of HMAS Wyatt Earp, the first Australian vessel to conduct Antarctic research in the immediate post-war period.

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