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HMAS SYDNEY I

Date: 1991
Dimensions:
Overall: 660 x 1650 x 363 mm, 50 kg
Medium: Fibreglass, brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Models
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00015390
Place Manufactured:Taehan Min'guk

User Terms

    Description
    1:100 scale model of the Royal Australian Navy's light cruiser HMAS SYDNEY which defeated the German raider SMS EMDEN during World War I.
    SignificanceThis scale model represents the first HMAS SYDNEY which won a crucial sea battle in the Indian Ocean in World War I.
    HistoryIn 1909 the British Admiralty proposed the creation of a Pacific fleet comprising three fleet units to be operated by Imperial forces in the Pacific region. Each fleet unit would be built around a battle-cruiser, supported by several light cruisers. One of these fleet units would constitute the Royal Australian Navy. With Australian Government agreement to this concept, work was started on the ships.

    HMAS SYDNEY was a Chatham class light cruiser built by the London-Glasgow Shipbuilding Company, Scotland, laid down in February 1911 and launched on 29 August, 1912.

    Joining the battlecruiser HMAS AUSTRALIA at Portsmouth, SYDNEY was commissioned on 26 June, 1913. The two vessels then sailed for Australia in July, via St Helena, Cape Town and Mauritius, eventually making landfall at Albany, Western Australia for coaling on 19 September. In order to make their arrival all the more momentous the two ships were ordered to avoid major ports, travelling straight to Jervis Bay where the remainder of the main Australian fleet, HMAS MELBOURNE, HMAS ENCOUNTER, and three newly built destroyers were at anchor. The fleet then sailed north on the short voyage to Sydney arriving on 4 October, 1913.

    SYDNEY had been commissioned under the command of Captain John C T Glossop (1871-1934). The vessel's displacement was 5,400 tons, whilst her armament would ultimately consist of eight six-inch guns, one 13-pounder gun, four 3-pounder guns and two torpedo tubes.

    Following a period spent in eastern Australian ports, SYDNEY proceeded to Singapore in March 1914, to act as escort to the two new Royal Australian Navy submarines AE1 and AE2. The flotilla entered Sydney harbour on 24 May 1914, where they were welcomed by the entire Australian fleet. SYDNEY spent the remainder of the pre-war months in Australian waters.

    On 3 August 1914, SYDNEY was joined at Townsville by the destroyers HMAS WARREGO and HMAS YARRA before proceeding north to form a unit in Admiral Patey's Pacific Squadron. Following the outbreak of war the following day, SYDNEY operated in New Guinea and Pacific waters, taking part in the brief Allied campaign against the German Pacific possessions and carrying out a series of punitive patrols. Highlights during this period included the capture of Rabaul (the capital of German New Guinea) between 9 and 11 September 1914 and the destruction of the Angaur Island (now part of Palau) Wireless Station on 26 September 1914.

    In October 1914, SYDNEY and MELBOURNE detached from HMAS AUSTRALIA and returned to Australia to form part of the escort for the first ANZAC convoy.
    This consisted of 38 transports carrying 20,000 men and 7,500 horses. The escort consisted of SYDNEY, MELBOURNE, the British armoured cruiser HMS MINOTAUR and the Japanese battlecruiser IBUKI. The convoy left Albany, Western Australia on 1 November 1914. It was timed to pass some fifty miles east of the Cocos Islands on the morning of 9 November 1914.

    At 0620 on 9 November, wireless operators in several transports and in the warships picked up signals in an unknown code, followed by a query from the Cocos Island Wireless Station asking 'What is that code?'. It was the German cruiser SMS EMDEN, ordering her collier BURESK to join her at Point (sometimes called Port) Refuge (part of the Cocos Island Group). After some debate between the vessels over which of the escorts should be dispatched, it was decided that SYDNEY, as the warship nearest to Cocos, should be sent. Detaching itself from the convoy at 0700 SYDNEY was able to exceed her designed speed, arriving at Cocos at 0915 and spotting EMDEN some seven or eight miles distant. At a range of 10,500 yards, EMDEN opened fire and SYDNEY was soon under heavy fire. SYDNEY was, however, faster and better armed than her German opponent and by 1115 EMDEN lay wrecked on North Keeling Island, although it continued to resist. SYDNEY then left the scene to pursue the BURESK and, having forced the collier to be scuttled by its crew, returned at 1300 to secure EMDEN's surrender. Four members of SYDNEY's crew were killed, whilst twelve were wounded.

    Von Müller had decided to run EMDEN aground on North Keeling Island in a bid to save his crew members who were still alive. Captain Glossop estimated that SYDNEY had scored around a hundred hits on the EMDEN by the time it ran aground. 134 of the EMDEN's crew were killed in the battle. Some of the German survivors were sent to Australian POW camps but the majority, including Müller, were imprisoned on Malta.

    On 15 November 1914, SYDNEY arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and from there was ordered to proceed to Malta where it arrived on 3 December. It was then ordered to Bermuda to join the North American and West Indies Stations for patrol duty. For the next eighteen months SYDNEY was engaged in observing neutral ports in the Americas, mainly in the West Indies with Jamaica as a base, and off Long Island and Squadron Headquarters at Bermuda. SYDNEY finally left Bermuda on 9 September 1916, arriving in Devonport, England, on 19 September, and from there proceeded to Scotland for refit.

    On 31 October 1916, SYDNEY was temporarily attached to the 5th Battle Squadron at Scapa Flow, Scotland. On 15 November, she sailed for Rosyth, Scotland, where for the remainder of the war SYDNEY's duties were confined to routine North Sea patrols.

    On 4 May 1917, while on patrol between the Humber Estuary and the mouth of the Firth, SYDNEY fought a running engagement with the German zeppelin L43. After both combatants had expended all of their ammunition to no avail they reportedly parted company on good terms. In August SYDNEY was fitted with the first revolving aircraft launching platform to be installed onboard a warship. On 8 December, a borrowed Sopwith Pup was successfully launched from the SYDNEY's platform in a fixed position. It was the first aircraft to take off from an Australian warship. Nine days later the Pup flew off the platform while it was turned into the wind; the first time an aircraft had been launched from such a platform in a revolved position. Early in 1918, SYDNEY took onboard a Sopwith Camel as a replacement for the Pup.

    On 1 June 1918, as British forces entered enemy controlled waters, two German sea planes were sighted by SYDNEY at 0933, diving towards HMAS MELBOURNE. Both planes dropped bombs although no hits were scored. The SYDNEY's Sopwith Camel was launched at 0955, together with the MELBOURNE's at 1000 to find and engage the German planes. MELBOURNE's pilot Lieutenant L B Gibson failed to locate the enemy sea planes and soon returned. SYDNEY's pilot, Lieutenant A C Sharwood, on the other hand, pursued the Germans for nearly sixty miles before he was able to engage them, shooting one of them down and being forced to bail out himself when he failed to relocate the SYDNEY. Sharwood's claim of one enemy sea plane having been shot down was not recognised by the Admiralty on the grounds that there was no independent corroboration.

    SYDNEY was present at the surrender of the German Grand Fleet on 21 November 1918. It sailed from Portsmouth on 9 April 1919, for the return passage to Australia. Other than visits to New Guinea in 1922 and New Caledonia and the Solomons in 1927, SYDNEY spent the remainder of its seagoing career in home waters, serving as flagship to the Australian Squadron from September 1924 until October 1927. She paid off at Sydney on 8 May 1928. On 10 January 1929, she was delivered to Cockatoo Island, Sydney for breaking up.

    EMDEN, wrecked but still somewhat intact, was left to disintegrate on North Keeling Island. Remnants of the ship still lie beneath the waters.

    Many souvenirs - from fruit and nut bowls, ash trays, walking sticks, match holders, tobacco jars and paperweights to specially framed prints of HMAS SYDNEY - were fashioned from teak and other wood fittings salvaged from the SYDNEY before she was broken up and sunk off Sydney Heads.



    Additional Titles

    Web title: HMAS SYDNEY I

    Assigned title: Ship model of the 'Town class' light cruiser of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) HMAS SYDNEY

    Related People
    Model Maker: Wayne Masters

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