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Date: 2005
Overall: 600 x 2200 x 350 mm
Medium: Plastic, paint, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00039671

User Terms

    A scale model, 1:96, of RAN Majestic Class Aircraft Carrier HMAS SYDNEY III.
    SignificanceThe model of HMAS SYDNEY [III] is depicted as the ship was initially built - that of an aircraft carrier. The carrier served in the Korean War in 1951 - 1952 and - with damaged aircraft - survived Cyclone Ruth. Three pilots were lost during the tour of duty and over 2,300 sorties made over Korean territory - for reconnaissance aerial surveillance and bombstrikes against bridges, dams etc.The carrier was converted to a Fast Troop Carrier in 1962 and between 1965 and 1972 transported military personnel and equipment to the Vietnam War - earning the nickname 'Vung Tau
    Ferry'. The model is depicted with 15 Sea Fury and Firefly aircraft.
    HistoryThe aircraft carrier HMAS SYDNEY was the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) third ship to be named for the capital of New South Wales. She was also the RAN's first aircraft carrier. The ship was laid down on 19 April 1943 at HM Dockyard Devonport in the UK as HMS TERRIBLE. She was launched on 30 September 1944; however, with the imminent end of World War II in the European theatre, the Admiralty ordered suspension of fitting-out.

    A post-war review by the Australian government's Defence Committee recommended that the RAN be restructured around a task force incorporating several aircraft carriers. Initial plans were for two active carriers and a third in reserve. In the event however, funding cuts led to the purchase of only HMS TERRIBLE and her sister ship HMS MAJESTIC, which were commissioned respectively as HMAS SYDNEY and HMAS MELBOURNE. As HMS TERRIBLE was to be fitted out as the flagship and was already near completion, fitting out and final construction of HMAS SYDNEY were finished without major modifications to the initial design.

    A crew for the RAN's first aircraft carrier was raised in Australia from the crew of the recently decommissioned RAN cruiser HOBART; this commissioning crew departed from Sydney aboard HMAS KANIMBLA in June 1948. Former Royal Navy sailors were seconded to supplement the carrier's crew.

    HMS TERRIBLE was handed over to the RAN on 16 December 1948, and was commissioned as HMAS SYDNEY. One of the reasons behind the choice of name was so that funds raised after 1941 by the HMAS Sydney Replacement Fund could be accessed.

    The SYDNEY was the last vessel to be commissioned into the RAN as 'His' Majesty's Australian Ship as after the death of King George VI in 1952 and upon the coronation of Elizabeth II as the monarch in 1953, all RAN ships became 'Her' Majesty's Australian ships.

    The SYDNEY was the first of three aircraft carriers to serve in the RAN; she operated as the RAN's flagship during the early part of her service. During the Korean War SYDNEY was attached to the United States Navy (USN) 7th Fleet, which operated primarily off the west coast of Korea.

    The carrier was sent on nine or ten-day patrols in the operational area, alternated by nine-day replenishment periods in Sasebo, Nagasaki or Hiroshima. To maintain coverage, SYDNEY alternated with a USN carrier; initially USS RENDOVA, then USS BADoeNG STRAIT. During her first tour of duty, SYDNEY carried out various assignments, including air searches for ditched pilots, attacks against enemy supply lines, communications and troop concentrations.

    Carrier-based RAN aircraft were mainly used for air strikes against North Korean units and supply lines; secondary duties including reconnaissance, bombardment spotting, combat air patrols and anti-submarine patrols.

    During her deployment in Korean waters, when carrying out search-and-rescue and aircraft guard roles, the carrier operated an unarmed USN Sikorsky 'Dragonfly' (designation UP28, which acquired the nickname "Uncle Peter") This was the first helicopter to operate from an Australian warship and the first USN hardware to be used by the RAN. The success of helicopter operations convinced the RAN to acquire three Bristol Sycamores; the first helicopter squadron in Australian military service.

    On January 27 1952 at the end of her first tour of duty off Korea HMAS SYDNEY sailed from Japan for Australia in the company of HMAS TOBRUK. During her 64 days in the war zone, her aircraft had flown 2,336 sorties.

    In March 1953, SYDNEY left for England for the Queen's Coronation. She returned via the United States, Pearl Harbour and New Zealand. On October 27 1953 she left Fremantle for her second and last tour in Korean waters; and returned to Fremantle on 2 June 1954.

    Following the 1955 commissioning of her modernised sister ship, HMAS MELBOURNE, the SYDNEY was retasked as a training vessel; remaining in service until designated 'surplus to requirements' in 1958 and placed in reserve.

    She was recommissioned in 1962 as a result of a need for a sealift capability; consequently she was modified for service as a fast troop transport. The SYDNEY was initially used for training and made a single supply voyage to Malaysia to support Malaysia's defence program against Indonesia; in 1965, she sailed on the first of a total of 23 voyages she later made to Vung Tàu in Vietnam, transporting soldiers, supplies and equipment. The number of return trips earned her the nickname "Vung Tau Ferry".

    On 1 November 1972, she left Sydney bound for exercises around Singapore and Jakarta. After calls at Hong Kong and the US base at Subic Bay in the Philippines, SYDNEY returned to Australia in the New Year and was decommissioned in 1973.

    Despite several plans to preserve all or part of the ship as a maritime museum, or a tourist attraction, or car park, the carrier was sold to a South Korean steel mill for scrapping in 1975. She was sold for $673,516. Under tow by a Japanese tug, she left Sydney Harbour at 1pm on 23 December 1975.

    Related People
    Model Maker: Mike Bass

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