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HMAS AUSTRALIA II Crossing the Line Ceremony booklet

Date: 26 February 1935
Overall: 208 × 135 mm
Medium: Ink in paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Booklet
Object No: ANMS1445[069]
Related Place:Portsmouth,

User Terms

    Souvenir booklet for the Crossing the Line Ceremony aboard HMAS Australia (II), 26 February 1935. 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 booklet dates to the immediate pre-Second World War period and compliments William Cook's chronicle (as related in his Midshipman's Journal) of HMAS Australia (II)'s voyage to England and the Mediterranean between January 1934 and July 1936. Of particular significance is the booklet's commemoration of the Duke of Gloucester's presence aboard HMAS Australia during this voyage. The Duke of Gloucester was on exchange duty from the Royal Navy during the voyage, and his presence aboard HMAS Australia is a relatively little-known aspect of the RAN's history during the interwar years. The booklet itself is a relatively rare item, as most Crossing the Line ceremonies are commemorated with single-page certificates.

    The booklet was owned by William Cook, who served aboard HMAS Australia (II) as a Midshipman and was present during the voyage that embarked the Duke of Gloucester. 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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