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HMAS TINGIRA boy trainees on Sydney Harbour

Date: 1912-1927
Dimensions:
Overall: 100 x 155 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Piers Jones
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00017004
Place Manufactured:Australia
Related Place:Sydney Harbour,

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    Description
    Naval trainees from HMAS TINGIRA, undertaking a training exercise on Sydney Harbour.
    SignificanceThis photograph represents an important RAN vessel that provided training of young men for naval service.
    HistoryTINGIRA, an Aboriginal word for ‘open sea’, was originally the clipper ship SOBRAON built by Alexander Hall of Aberdeen and launched in 1866. It was the largest composite ship ever built at the time and sailed on the England to Australia route for more than 20 years.

    In 1891 the NSW Government purchased SOBRAON from Devitt and Moore and it was towed to Sydney Harbour arriving on 15 February 1891.

    SOBRAON was acquired to replace the VERNON - a floating reformatory for boys who had been dispatched under the regulations from the Act for the Relief of Destitute Children, the Act to Establish Juvenile Reformatories and the Public Schools Act of 1866. SOBRAON underwent a series of modifications and became an Industrial School Ship, or Nautical School Ship, for underprivileged boys whom the court had found destitute, or for other reasons saw it fit to hand these boys into the strict, disciplinary life on board SOBRAON, under Superintendent Frederick William Neitenstein, Lieutenant William Henry Mason, and their officers.

    In 1910 the Naval Defence Act was passed and in October 1911 the adoption of the title Royal Australian Navy was authorised by King George V. This same year saw the launching on the Clyde of HMAS AUSTRALIA and the purchasing of the SOBRAON by the Commonwealth of Australia and on 25 April 1912 HMAS TINGIRA (ex-SOBRAON) was commissioned as the first naval training ship in the Royal Australian Navy, with the motto 'Learn or Leave'. It became the training ship to thousands of young boys who chose the Navy as a career under the Department of the Navy’s boy enlistment scheme. TINGIRA did not head to sea for training, but remained moored at Rose Bay for the next 15 years. Nearby Lyne Park was used for parade, rifle and field gun training.

    The first intake of boys took place between 1 and 28 June 1912, and at the date of HMAS TINGIRA’s decommissioning in 1927, some 3,168 young boys had had their initial training on board. The boys were aged between 14 years, 6 months and 16 years of age and were required to serve seven years in the Navy after the age of 18.

    Daily duties started at 0530, followed by cleaning the ship, boat drill, physical training and classroom and practical instruction until 1600. Domestic duties or compulsory organised sport was undertaken until supper and after 1900 the boys were given 'free' time to write letters or play voluntary games. Lights out was at 2100.

    In 1929 TINGIRA was bought by W M Ford, a prominent North Sydney boat builder and floated outside his boatshed in Berry’s Bay, where it served as coal hulk, stores ship and for a short time as a hostel for the destitute men of Sydney. Ford died in 1935 and in 1936 Major Friere, a retired British army officer, and Mrs Louisa Ankin negotiated to purchase TINGIRA for the sum of £2,600, and a company was formed to convert the ship into a floating museum, but because of financial difficulties this development failed.

    TINGIRA was purchased by Karlo Selvinen who finally broke her up in Berry’s Bay in 1941-1942.

    A section of the Rose Bay waterfront has been dedicated to HMAS TINGIRA. The Tingira reserve was dedicated in 1962.

    [Source: Naval Historical Society of Australia; www.navyhistory.org.au]
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Photograph of the TINGIRA longboat in Sydney Harbour

    Web title: HMAS TINGIRA boy trainees on Sydney Harbour

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