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J Class submarine off the coast of Geelong

Date: 1922
Overall: 465 x 590 x 20 mm, 2.25 kg
Medium: Oil paint on board
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00028457

User Terms

    An oil painting of the J class submarine, J4, off the coast of the submarine base at Geelong in Victoria. The painting is by RAN submariner Geoffrey Coates.

    SignificanceRepresentations of the J Class submarines are not abundant.The artist Geoffey Coates was a Royal Australian Navy submariner in 1922 when the painting was produced and it is likely he almost certainly served on one of them.
    The J Class submarines had a brief and unspectacular career with the RAN.They were part of the Gift
    Fleet to Australia after World War I and arrived in 1919. By 1929 they had all been decommissioned.
    This was due to various effects - their generally poor condition meant expensive and time consuming
    refits; the economic restraint after the War meant there was little in the way of funding to make them
    effective. Never the less they did undertake some anti-submarine training roles.
    HistoryThe J Class submarines were ordered by the Royal Navy in 1915 as a response to the German U Boat threat and the need to build a submarine that was faster than the previous E class. 7 J Class submarines were built and 6 of those became part of the 11th submarine flotilla, along with 6 G Class submarines. One J Class submarine, J6, was lost during the war after being accidentally sunk by the British ship CYMRIC. In 1919 after WWI, the Royal Navy gifted Australia with the remaining 6 J Class submarines and a further 6 destroyers. On arrival in Sydney in July of 1919, the submarines required an extensive refit at Garden Island and Cockatoo Island. On completion they were based in Geelong, Victoria from which they undertook a 'major cruise in Tasmanian waters'. In 1922 with the defence budget slashed, the submarines were seen as unviable and were decommissioned, sold to a metal salvage company with the hulls scuttled in various locations off the Victorian coast.
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