Australia passing through the Panama Canal, 1935
|Career (Australia (RAN))|
|Builder:||John Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland)|
|Laid down:||26 August 1925|
|Launched:||17 March 1927|
|Commissioned:||24 April 1928|
|Decommissioned:||31 August 1954|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap 25 January 1955. On 26 March 1955 vessel left Sydney under tow to the United Kingdom where it was broken up at Barrow-in-Furness|
|Class and type:||County class heavy cruiser|
|Displacement:||9,850 tons (10,010 t) standard, 13,450 tons (13,670 t) full load|
|Length:||630 ft (190 m)|
|Beam:||68.25 ft (20.80 m)|
|Draught:||16.25 ft (4.95 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 shaft Brown-Curtis geared turbines, 8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 80,000 shp (60,000 kW).|
|Speed:||31.5 knots (58.3 km/h)|
|Range:||3,100 nautical miles (5,700 km) at 31.5 knots
13,300 nautical miles (24,600 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
3,400 tons (3,450 t) fuel oil
|Complement:||679 (848 at war)|
8 x BL 8-inch (203.2 mm) Mk VIII guns (4 twin turrets)
4 x QF 4-inch (101.6 mm) Mk V anti-aircraft guns (single mounts)
4 x 3 pdr guns
1 to 4 inches (25 to 100 mm) magazine box protection
1.375 inches (34.9 mm) deck
1 inch (25 mm) side-plating, turrets, and bulkheads
4.5 inches (11 cm) belt
4 inches (10 cm) internal boiler room sides (added 1936-1940)
|Aircraft carried:||1 aircraft Seagull III, later Walrus|
HMAS Australia (D84), launched in 1927, was a County class heavy cruiser built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The ship is believed to have been the first ship damaged by a kamikaze attack, and to be tied with the USS Laffey for the ship hit the most times by kamikazes.
Australia was laid down by John Brown and Company of Clydebank Scotland on 26 August 1925. She was launched on 17 March 1927 and commissioned on 24 April 1928, two months before sister ship HMAS Canberra.
After World War II began, "The Aussie" (as the ship was affectionately known within the RAN), first fired her main armament of eight 8 inches (200 mm) guns in anger off the coast of Dakar, in late 1940, when she took part in Operation Menace. Australia damaged the Vichy French destroyer L'Audacieux, which as a result was beached on 23–24 September. Australia received hits from shore batteries and her Supermarine Seagull V reconnaissance plane, detached from No. 9 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force, was shot down by Vichy French Curtiss Hawks.
During 1941, Australia escorted convoys and patrolled the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Following the onset of the Pacific War, Australia was re-deployed to the South West Pacific Area as first part of the ANZAC Squadron then Task Force 44. In May 1942, during the Battle of the Coral Sea, the ship survived a brief but intense attack from Japanese torpedo bombers. From 26 August 1942 until mid-1944, Australia joined Task Force 61, providing supporting fire and surface protection for Allied land forces at land battles including the invasion of Guadalcanal and the New Guinea campaign, including the Allied landings in New Britain.
On 21 October 1944, in the lead-up to the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Australia was hit by a Japanese plane carrying a 200-kilogram (440 lb) bomb, in the first-ever kamikaze attack. The plane struck the superstructure, above the bridge, spewing burning fuel and debris over a large area. However, the bomb failed to explode; if it had, the ship might have been effectively destroyed. At least 30 crew members died as a result of the attack, including the commanding officer, Captain Emile Dechaineux; among the wounded was Commodore John Collins, the Australian force commander.
On 25 October, Australia was hit again and was forced to retire to the New Hebrides for repairs. The ship returned to combat in January 1945; by the end of the war, she had survived being hit by kamikazes on six separate occasions, which had resulted in the loss of 86 lives. This was Australia's last action, as she was still undergoing repairs when the war ended.
Following the end of the war, Australia served as a training ship. She was paid off for disposal on 31 August 1954 and sold for scrap to the British Iron and Steel Corporation (Salvage) on 25 January 1955, left Sydney under tow on 26 March 1955, and was broken up at the Thomas W. Ward Shipbreaking Yard at Barrow-in-Furness in 1956.
HMAS Australia, circa 1932–33
A barrel from one of HMAS Australia's eight-inch guns, preserved in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial