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Launch of HMAS PARRAMATTA (II)

Date: 10 June 1939
Dimensions:
Overall: 155 x 204 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00021030
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Cockatoo Island,

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    Description
    This photograph shows the launching ceremony of the Grimsby class sloop HMAS PARRAMATTA on 10 June 1939 at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney. Onlookers watch as PARRAMATTA enters the water for the first time, as she slides stern first down the inclined slipway. The sloop was launched by Mrs Evora Street.
    SignificanceThe Samuel J Hood photographic collection records an extensive range of maritime activity on Sydney Harbour, including sail and steam ships, warships, crew portraits, crews at work, ship interiors, stevedores loading and unloading cargo, port scenes, pleasure boats and harbourside social activities from the 1890s through to the 1950s. They are also highly competent artistic studies and views - Hood was regarded as an important figure in early Australian photojournalism. Hood’s maritime photographs are one of the most significant collections of such work in Australia.
    HistoryThe Grimsby class sloop PARRAMATTA was built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard and launched on 10 June 1939 by Mrs Evora Street, wife of the then Minister for Defence Geoffrey Austin Street. PARRAMATTA was commissioned on 8 April 1940 and was deployed to escort, patrol and minesweeping operations with the Red Sea Force 1940-41 and the Mediterranean Station 1941. The most significant duties involved escorting cargoes and supplies to Tobruk forces. On 27 November 1941 PARRAMATTA was sunk by the German submarine U-559 with the loss of 138 lives; 24 survived the sinking. PARRAMATTA earned the Battle Honours Libya 1941.

    The building and launch of HMAS PARRAMATTA (II) was covered in the newspapers as follows:

    Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 2 June 1939
    "AUSTRALIA'S NEW SLOOP
    Launching on June 10
    H.M.A.S. PARRAMATTA
    H.M.A.S. Parramatta, the third of the new sloops constructed at Cockatoo Island as part of the Royal Australian Navy's expansion programme, will be launched on June 10. The vessel has been built specially for duties in the tropics, and will carry 110 officers and men. Its duties in war will be patrol work, convoying of merchant vessels, and minesweeping.

    The Parramatta is a sister ship of H.M.A.Ss Yarra and Swan, which were commissioned at Sydney in January, 1936 and January, 1937, respectively.
    The new vessel has been named after the "river" class destroyer Parramatta, which came to Australia from England in 1910.

    AUSTRALIAN MATERIAL
    The new Parramatta is being built and fitted with engines by the Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company, under contract, and much of the materials used in her construction have been supplied by Australian manufacturers.

    The hull is complete, and some of the auxiliary machinery has been fitted. She has a displacement of 1,400 tons, with a length of 265ft, a beam of 36ft, and a draught of 9ft 6in. Her height from the upper deck to the keel is 16ft. When armed she will have three 4-inch guns for high angle and low angle fire, and four three-pounder saluting guns, and a number of anti-aircraft machine-guns.

    The ship, which will be driven by a Diesel engine, will be equipped with echo sounding gear - which is essential for surveying work and an aid to navigation.
    In peace time she will be used in the initial training of newly joined ratings, and in the training of reserve officers and men. She will also be used in survey work, and in visits to small ports and harbours with insufficient space or depth of water for larger naval ships."

    Sydney Morning Herald Monday 12 June 1939
    "ESCORT VESSEL LAUNCHED
    H.M.A.S. Parramatta.
    PRAISE FOR AUSTRALIAN SHIPBUILDING
    "Australia is much better off than Great Britain in the raw materials of shipbuilding,'' declared the Minister for Defence, Mr. Street, in a speech after the launching of the new naval escort vessel Parramatta at Cockatoo Dock on Saturday morning.
    "Australia has the ore, the steel works, fine timbers, and practically all that is required," Mr. Street said. "In building warships, Australia could not hope to compete with the British yards in price; the alternative was to compete with them in quality. Ships built in Australia have received nothing but praise at home or abroad."

    The launching of the Parramatta was performed by Mrs. Street, and after the traditional bottle of champagne had crashed against her bows, the ship slid down the tallow-greased slipways and into the water to the roar of ships' sirens and cheering of about 2,000 people. At the stern floated the ensign of the old "river" class destroyer Parramatta.

    Before the launching a religious service was conducted by the Rev. Arthur Rix, rector of St. John's Parish, Birchgrove, Balmain. Mr. and Mrs. Street were escorted to the platform by the chairman of directors of the Cockatoo Dock Company, Mr. G. F. Davis, and the managing director, Mr. N. Frazer. After the launching, the official party and about 1,000 guests boarded the Showboat, and were entertained by the company. The toast of Mrs. Street was proposed by Mr. Davis, who presented her with a diamond brooch as a souvenir of the occasion.

    £20,000,000 PROGRAMME
    Mr. Street, proposing the toast of "the builders," after praising the work of the Cockatoo Dock, referred to the fact that more than £20,000,000 would be spent on the Australian Navy in three years, and to the programme of building Tribal class destroyers and motor torpedo- boats which would be carried out there. Mr. Frazer, responding, said that at Cockatoo was gathered together one of the most able staffs of shipbuilding people that could be found in the British Empire. It was essential that they should have some definite programme of work to enable that staff, whose knowledge meant so much to Australia, to be kept together."

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: HMAS WARREGO II or HMAS PARRAMATTA II

    Web title: Launch of HMAS PARRAMATTA (II)

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