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The TINGIRA, volume 1 number 3

Date: 1927
Overall: 215 x 140 mm, 0.05 kg
Display Dimensions: 212 x 139 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jessie Whale
Object Name: Booklet
Object No: 00016605
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This booklet, issued by the Royal Australian Navy, contains a coloured illustration titled 'TINGIRA' by H B Williams, and includes editorials, details of the presentation of the Stonehaven Challenge Shield, and a history of the SOBRAON. TINGIRA was decommissioned in 1927 having spent 15 years as a training ship for the Royal Australian Navy.
    SignificanceThis booklet 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.

    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 7 years in the Navy after the age of 18.

    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.

    The Stonehaven Challenge Shield was named after the Governor-General of Australia from 1925-1930, Lord Stonehaven. It was awarded for discipline, seamanship, education and athletics. The shield itself was wooden and bronze with pieces from HMS VICTORY and HMAS AUSTRALIA (I). The Howe division won the shield in March 1927, and TINGIRA was decommissioned in that year. In 1927 Lord Stonehaven also presented a trophy to the Royal Sydney Yacht Club to be awarded at an annual national event for junior sailors. The Stonehaven Cup is still contested annually in southern Australian waters.

    [Source: Naval Historical Society of Australia;]
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