Australian War Memorial, Canberra. By the early 1900s Queensland had developed a substantial fleet of local merchant ships operating from Torres Strait to Brisbane. War Cabinet Room . Over the years, there have been many government inquiries and much research into the issue, most notably the comprehensive Crawford report on the revitalisation of Australian shipping in the early 1980s. In north Queensland they provided logistic support for US Engineers engaged in airfield construction, unloading heavy equipment at temporary jetties along the coast of Cape York. The date marks the sinking of the first Allied merchant ship in 1939, just hours after the Second World War began. Armed merchant ship 1939–1949 HMAS Westralia: Underway replenishment ship Leaf: … The National Archives of Australia has a large number of record series concerning ships’ crews and the merchant navy. You can search either by the ship’s name, or the ship's official number for a more accurate search. About 200 were Australian merchant seamen (Gill, 1968:557). 21 October: Union Steam Ship Co ... 14 May: Australian hospital ship Centaur is torpedoed by I-177 off the Queensland coast with the loss of 268 lives. HMAS Melbourne steams into San Diego Harbor, California (USA), in 1977. Starting with SS America, laid down in 1937, and ending with SS United States in 1952, the U.S. Maritime Commission built nearly 6,000 ships under the mandate of the 1936 Merchant Marine Act. Hundreds of service personnel and merchant seamen were killed in these tragedies. The debate over the need for Australian-flagged merchant ships has a long history running right back to federation. During the Second World War Merchant Navy ships carrying valuable cargoes were at just as much risk as Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warships. This is the Tasman Sea's worst maritime disaster. Come and see why. The Australian War Memorial acknowledges the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia. As the outbreak of World War II edged closer in 1939, the British merchant fleet remained the largest in the world, employing some 200,000 men and women. This is a list of Allied ships sunk by Axis warships operating in Australian waters during the Second World War. The easy way to obtain information from this site. A port controller was appointed for Townsville in September 1942. Crew lists and agreements were introduced in 1835. In April 1943 the Howard Smith (Australian Steamships Limited) vessel Kowarra was sunk by a Japanese submarine with the loss of 21 lives while steaming from Bowen to Brisbane with a cargo of sugar. Details about the role of the Australian Merchant Navy and the role Australian merchant ships played in World War II can be found at Merchant Ships of Australia in World War 2. Signal Letters: Find Signal Letters/ Registration Numbers for ships in 1912, 1916, 1938 & 1945. 10 am to 5 pm daily (except Christmas Day), Get your ticket to visit: awm.gov.au/visit, Copyright As such she was bombed and heavily damaged in Darwin harbour by Japanese aircraft on 19 February 1942. The impact of the war on merchant seamen was little known except to people in the towns along the coast where it happened, and to the families and friends of the men whose lives were so imperilled. The Website for Merchant Ships during WW2. The Australian War Memorial has placed the names of 845 of them who are known to have died on war service during World War II on the commemorative roll. Dutch shipping and crews based in Australia made a major contribution to the war effort in the movement of Allied troops and supplies to the New Guinea and Pacific island war zones. Ships sunk during WW2 Published Newcastle Herald 8/2/1993 When not committed to military transport, these ships were employed to carry various commodity exports to Britain and France. ‘Sparrow Force’ embarked Zealandia arrived Koepang on the 12th, escorted by Westralia (70 Officers — 1,330 men). Queensland coastal merchant shipping continued operating throughout World War II, despite the risk of attacks by Japanese submarines and aircraft. Among the best-known attacks are the sinking of HMAS Sydney by a German raider in … Australia was the only true "capital ship" to serve in the RAN. Starboard side view of the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Kanimbla (Source: AWM 059482), AHS Centaur - sunk off Queensland 14 May 1943. Soon after the commencement of the war the Naval Board instituted a system of escorted coastal convoys as a protective measure. Royal Australian Navy History, WWII Merchant ship movement records - Australia; Ron Wylie, Australian merchant navy: stories of the war at sea Background information. Fifty four Axis surface raiders and submarines carried out these attacks, sinking 53 merchant ships and three warships within the Australia Station, resulting in the deaths of over 1,751 Allied military personnel, sailors and civilians. Details about the role of the Australian Merchant Navy and the role Australian merchant ships played in World War II can be found at Merchant Ships of Australia in World War 2. During the Second World War, 41 allied naval and merchant ships were sunk off Australia's coast by enemy action. Because of its length of coastline and many ports, by the 1880s the colony of Queensland had recognized the need to establish its own coastal shipping service rather than rely on external shipping lines to transport its cargoes of rainforest timber, sugar, bananas, coal and meat. Liberty Ship building in the US got underway after mid-1941. In January and February 1942 SS Ormiston was used for the compulsory evacuation of civilians from Thursday, Horn and Hammond Islands in the Torres Strait. The Small Ships were manned by Merchant Seaman from all over the world. From February the shipping industry came under government regulated control involving prices, profits, materials, investments and wages. Figures published by the Seaman’s Union of Australia (SUA) in 1972 indicate that 386 members of the union lost their lives during the Second World War. For Naval communications the Coastal Radio Stations added the number 6 to their call-signs. You can search either by the ship’s name, or the ship's official number for a more accurate search. War Dead 1939-45: Search memorials by name and by ship. From modest beginnings in Townsville with the establishment of coastal shipping links from Brisbane to north Queensland and the south-west Pacific, Burns Philp steadily expanded into a range of merchant and ship-owning activities, including Pacific island plantations and trading centres. Consult the Crew List Index Project (CLIP) website, which has information about merchant ships from 1861 to 1913. Industrial action did occur but it did not benefit seamen as much as has been said and was almost always entered into on the basis of pay, extreme danger, or working and living conditions. Built 1935 by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne (Yard No.1460) for Melbourne SS Co, Melbourne and used on Australian coastal services. World War I merchant ships of Australia (3 P) World War II merchant ships of Australia (13 P) C HMAS Harman and the long range Radio Stations at Sydney and Perth were able to communicate with all Naval ships around Australian waters. Some of the most useful include: The Mercantile Navy list and maritime directory. Images from the museum's photograph and paintings and object collections are being digitised and added to the collection online search with new items added regularly so don’t forget to check back. With a membership of 4500 at the beginning of the war the overall fatality rate among members of the union was 8.5 per cent, a rate higher than that sustained by other branches of Australia’s fighting services. The Stevedoring Commission marked the beginning of the end of the old system of waterside employment. In all, 30 merchant ships were lost by enemy attack in Australian waters, with 654 deaths. KEY. Although Australia was remote from the main battlefronts, there was considerable Axis naval activity in Australian waters during the Second World War.A total of 54 German and Japanese warships and submarines entered Australian waters between 1940 and 1945 and attacked ships, ports and other targets. The vessel was brightly illuminated with large red crosses displayed on the hull in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Manned by merchant seamen, they were an emergency response to a critical shortage of maritime cargo ships in the early years of the war, exacerbated by German U-Boat activities in the Atlantic. American Liberty Ships were a major component of Allied Merchant Navy shipping unloading in Queensland ports during World War II. Merchant Ships of Australia in World War 2. After failing to arrive at Leith on the 29th November the ship was officially recorded with Lloyd's as missing/untraced on the 29th December 1944 and a Joint Arbitration Committee considered her lost by "marine causes" A Missing Ship Committee considered he lost the same day of her last sighting. To secure the service the Queensland government agreed to pay the British India Company a subsidy to form the Queensland Steam Shipping Company (later the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company–AUSN) to operate a coastal shipping service which proved of great value to local commerce and primary industry. Many Australians are just not ‘sea-minded’. This category has the following 8 subcategories, out of 8 total. The Australian War Memorial’s repository of resources related to the service of the merchant navy during war time is limited, although it does contain a collection of cuttings, ship lists and an interview with the captain of the Warilda. This is the speech by Lieutenant Commander Desmond Woods, RANR, at the Australian Merchant Navy Day of Remembrance, 8 April 2018. Fleet: Vessel: Built: Years in Service : Tons: Adelaide: 1911: 1914 interned Sao Paulo, 1916 seized by Portugal renamed Cunene. Italy joined Axis 10th June 1940. More than 140 New Zealand merchant seafarers lost their lives, and a similar number were taken prisoner. Consult the Miramar Ship Index (£) website, a historical database listing some categories of merchant and naval ships. Australian hospital ships were manned by Merchant Navy crews. With a mem… The Dutch merchant fleet’s presence in the South West Pacific Area increased in 1944 as about 30 KPM vessels assisted in General MacArthur’s island hopping campaign. Following a number of gunnery and torpedo attacks on merchant ships along the New South Wales coast, the Naval Board instituted a system of coastal convoys as a temporary protective measure. These are not two separate documents but one and the same thing; you may see them referred to simply as ‘crew lists’, or sometimes simply as ‘agreements’. Alert: These pdf documents have been created from scanned images and accordingly are large in file size. However, the Dutch were able to save much of their merchant fleet that was located in Australian and Sri Lankan ports. The Australian Civil Ensign, or Australian Red Ensign, is a red version of the Australian National flag. Victoria Barracks in Melbourne became the Headquarters for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) since its formation in 1911.. Australia was divided into a number of naval zones which more or less ignored each other. At sea, it is the only flag allowable for merchant ships registered in Australia under the Navigation and Shipping Act 1912 and The Shipping Registration Act 1981. WW2 Honours and Gallantry Indicates any Imperial honour or gallantry award conferred on an individual during World War Two, and that entitles the recipient to use a post-nominal after their name. Much of the Burns Philp merchant fleet was requisitioned after the Japanese entered World War II. Many ships were torpedoed or bombed; survivors sometimes spent days or weeks in lifeboats before being rescued. Search for a registered ship on the Australian General and International Shipping Registers. You can search for a vessel using basic details about the ship. 3 September is Merchant Navy Day, which was first officially commemorated in New Zealand in 2010. 7 December 1941 1. The Walk of Remembrance and Centaur Memorial honours the ships and the brave men and women who gave up their lives for Australia. He was sunk on many occasions and sailed in both the Australian and British merchant navy. Given the union’s claim of a total membership of 4,500 at the beginning of the war, the overall fatality rate among seamen members of the SUA during the Second World War was 8.5 per cent, a rate higher than that sustained by Australia’s fighting services. Following a number of gunnery and torpedo attacks on merchant ships along the New South Wales coast, the … The Australian passenger vesselManunda prior to being requisitioned and fitted out as an Australian Hospital Ship in May 1940. These included European, Chinese and Islander women and children being sent south to Cairns, Townsville and Brisbane. Merchant ships of Australia include all merchant ships designed, built, or operated by Australia. One of the largest strikes, at the Port of Cairns during April and May 1945, was over ‘danger money’ for loading ammunition and ordnance. After the First World War King George V, in recognition of the contribution made to the British war effort by merchant ships, granted the title of ‘Merchant Navy’ to non-military sailors. Other coastal vessels used in the evacuation of north Queensland civilians included the SS Katoomba, Taroona and Wandana. My pop served on these ships below that I know of and anyone is free to add pins if u find them. Jan 10, 2018 - This board is a collection of merchant navy info from Ww2. It is for use only at sea and officially never on land, but can be used by private citizens. In mid-1942 a series of merchant ships were sunk with great loss of life, so it was decided to sail ships in convoy with Royal Australian Navy vessels as escorts. These records are digitised cards recording the movements of British and Allied merchant ships during the Second World War. Some of the most useful include: The Mercantile Navy list and maritime directory Initially conceived as a unit of the Royal Navy, the second Indefatigable-class battlecruiser was paid for and crewed by Australians, and was thus commissioned as HMAS Australia. Australian military units first deployed in 1885, to the Sudan and then in 1899 to 1902 to the Boer War. The Australian waterfront had reached a chaotic stage by early 1942. However, while Admiral Scheer went on to sink five merchant ships out of the convoy, Jervis Bay's sacrifice bought enough time for the convoy to scatter, and the remaining ships escaped. Hospital ships were crewed by merchant seamen. This action ensured Australian troops had ammunition and supplies when they landed at Balikpapan, Borneo, in July 1945. Australia saw extensive combat in World War II. Cargo ship Stronsa Firth, 491grt, (Firth Shipping Co.) loaded with a cargo of barley at Kings Lynn for Leith, sailed independently on the 26th November 1944. Another Howard Smith vessel, the SS Canberra was heavily strafed by Japanese aircraft off Cape York in March 1943 with many of the crew injured. No other group of New Zealand civilians faced such risks during wartime. But it was not the end of waterfront strikes in north Queensland ports. For merchant mariners, 'last ship' indicates the name of the ship on which the mariner served at the war's end or at the time of their death. 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