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HMA Ships SYDNEY and AUSTRALIA souvenir

Date: c 1929
Medium: Timber, silver, brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from A Bax
Object Name: Souvenir
Object No: 00016622
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This souvenir brings together two of the first ships of the Royal Australian Navy. The turbine blade has been salvaged from the light cruiser HMAS SYDNEY (I) and the timber base from the battle cruiser HMAS AUSTRALIA (I).
    SignificanceThe salvaging of material during the scrapping of RAN ships and subsequent remodelling of them into practical commemorative pieces was common in the first half of the 20th century. This allowed the general public to “own” a piece of naval history.
    HistoryThe blade in this relic comes from HMAS SYDNEY’s Parsons steam turbine. The timber base almost certainly comes from the decking of HMAS AUSTRALIA. Both ships played major roles in Australia’s naval history.

    HMAS SYDNEY was a Chatham class light cruiser launched in 1912 and commissioned in 1913. It was built by London and Glasgow Engineering Co, Govan, Scotland. It was part of the Australian First Fleet Unit which entered Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913, led by the flagship HMAS AUSTRALIA. Service started almost immediately in World War I against the German East Asiatic Squadron and culminated in the sinking of the German raider SMS EMDEN off Cocos in 1914. Subsequent service included patrol duties in the North America and West Indies Station, and then the North Sea. SYDNEY returned to Australia in 1919, serving as flagship of the Australian Squadron from September 1924 to October 1927. She was paid off in 1928 and broken up at Cockatoo Island Dockyard in 1929. Many hundreds of souvenirs were made from various ship fittings, timber and armaments.

    HMAS AUSTRALIA was the RAN’s first flagship having been launched in 1911 and commissioned in 1913. Built by John Brown and Co Ltd, Clydebank, Scotland, the battle cruiser led the ships of the Australian Fleet Unit – the embodiment of Australian sea power. Some time was then spent on port visits, showcasing the cruiser to the nation. Service in WWI included patrol and escort duties firstly against the Germans in the Pacific region and then in the North Sea. AUSTRALIA returned safely to Australia in 1919 where her career was shortlived. Under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 the ship was prepared for scuttling. After the removal of equipment for use in other naval ships, much of the remainder was allocated as teaching aids to various universities and technical colleges around the country. A syndicate was awarded the contract to remove all remaining material of value prior to sinking. They sold parts of the vessel to the public as souvenirs. AUSTRALIA was sunk off Sydney Heads on 12 April 1924.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Souvenir turbine blade from HMAS SYDNEY

    Web title: HMA Ships SYDNEY and AUSTRALIA souvenir

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