Feature Histories


Title Summary Author Year
Tasmania and the Navy As Australia’s island state, Tasmania has a long naval and maritime tradition reaching back to the earliest days of the Australian colonies. Its contribution to the naval defence of Australia has been substantial and well out of proportion to its small size. Petar Djokovic 1808
Visual Signalling In The Royal Australian Navy Visual signalling (V/S) has been used by navies the world over for centuries. The origins and history of V/S, at a time when the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is embracing new technologies and all that it promises for the future of naval communications, is worth reviewing as its continued use within the fleet faces an uncertain future. John Perryman 1844
The RAN - A Brief History From settlement in 1788, to 1859, Australia depended on units detached from the Royal Navy based in Sydney to provide Naval defence. In 1859, Australia was established as a separate British Naval Station, and until 1913, a squadron of the Royal Navy was maintained in Australian waters. This Australian unit was to be paid for and controlled by the Australian Commonwealth and was to be eventually manned by Australian personnel. Dr David Stevens 1901
How old is Australia’s Navy This might seem a simple question, but over the years the Australian Navy’s birthday has remained a source of some confusion. The date now accepted is 1 March 1901. The previously accepted date of 10 July 1911 is not the birth date of naval forces in Australia, rather it was the date that the Sovereign granted the title ‘Royal Australian Navy’. Dr David Stevens 1901
Naming of RAN Ships 'His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the Permanent Naval Forces of the Commonwealth being designated the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and of the ships of that Navy being designated His Majesty's Australian Ships'. John Perryman 1911
The Tingira Boys Part 1 In 1911 Sobraon was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for £15 000 and fitted out as a boy’s training ship at Mort’s Dock Balmain. The name chosen for her was an aboriginal word meaning ‘open sea’ and she commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Tingira on 25 April 1912. John Perryman & ABCIS KG O'Connell 1912
The Tingira Boys Part 2 In 1911 Sobraon was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for £15 000 and fitted out as a boy’s training ship at Mort’s Dock Balmain. The name chosen for her was an aboriginal word meaning ‘open sea’ and she commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Tingira on 25 April 1912. John Perryman & ABCIS KG O'Connell 1912
The Tingira Boys Part 3 In 1911 Sobraon was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for £15 000 and fitted out as a boy’s training ship at Mort’s Dock Balmain. The name chosen for her was an aboriginal word meaning ‘open sea’ and she commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Tingira on 25 April 1912. John Perryman & ABCIS KG O'Connell 1912
The Tingira Boys Part 4 In 1911 Sobraon was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for £15 000 and fitted out as a boy’s training ship at Mort’s Dock Balmain. The name chosen for her was an aboriginal word meaning ‘open sea’ and she commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Tingira on 25 April 1912. John Perryman & ABCIS KG O'Connell 1912
The Tingira Boys Part 5 In 1911 Sobraon was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for £15 000 and fitted out as a boy’s training ship at Mort’s Dock Balmain. The name chosen for her was an aboriginal word meaning ‘open sea’ and she commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Tingira on 25 April 1912 John Perryman & ABCIS KG O'Connell 1912
Tasmanian ship names in the RAN A number of RAN vessels have been named after cities, towns, rivers and sailors from Tasmania. Petar Djokovic 1915
Ships Named Anzac With a focus on commemorating the 100th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in the 1915 Gallipoli landings, it seems fitting to highlight the service of those Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships that have proudly carried the name Anzac as a mark of reverence to the brave deeds of the men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). John Perryman & Petar Djokovic 1917
Ships Named Adelaide With the second of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) new amphibious ships (LHD) commissioned as HMAS Adelaide (III) in 2015, it seems timely to review the history of the two previous RAN warships to have proudly carried the name of South Australia’s capital city. John Perryman 1918
Ships Named Canberra In the annals of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), two of its warships have proudly carried the name of Australia’s capital city – Canberra. In 2014, a third HMAS Canberra commissioned in a ceremony conducted at Fleet Base East, Sydney. John Perryman 1928
Ships Named Hobart In May 2015, the first of the RAN’s new destroyers was launched in Adelaide. Commissioning in 2017, HMAS Hobart (III) lends its name to the class of vessel and proudly perpetuates the name of Hobart in the RAN. 1936
Women in the RAN: The Road to Command at Sea The current mission of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is 'to fight and win in the maritime environment...' This Semaphore Newsletter highlights the achievements and contributions by RAN women whilst ashore and at sea from World War II (WWII). Lieutenant Andrea Argirides, RANR 1941
HMAS Yarra and Operation Marmalade During 1941 a number of Australian ships were serving overseas under British Admiralty control, including the escort sloop HMAS Yarra under Commander Wilfred Hastings Harrington RAN. In August 1941, Britain and the Soviet Union undertook a joint invasion and occupation of Iran to, amongst other things, secure existing British oil interests vital to the Empire’s capacity to remain in the war. Petty Officer Peter Cannon 1941
Petty Officer Humphries and the George Medal The George Medal was established by King George VI in September 1940, primarily to honour civilian acts of courage. It also served to recognise service personnel for acts of great bravery not conducted in the face of the enemy for which other military awards were not appropriate. When Petty Officer John Humphries of HMS Kanimbla was awarded the new medal in early 1942, it was to be the highest decoration awarded to an Australian rating during World War II. John Perryman 1941
Krait and Operation Jaywick On 2 September 1943, a captured Japanese motor sampan set out from Exmouth, Western Australia bound for Singapore, well inside Japanese controlled waters. By the time they returned nearly seven weeks later, the crew of 14 had carried out one of the most successful clandestine raids in Australian history. Petar Djokovic 1943
Submarine Escape and Rescue: A Brief History The disaster which befell the Russian submarine Kursk in August 2000 caught the world’s attention and became a galvanising event in drawing renewed focus on submarine safety in the new century. Nick Stewart 2000
Finding HMAS Sydney (II) HMAS Sydney (II) was one of three modified British Leander class light cruisers purchased by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the years immediately prior to World War II. She gained fame early in the War for her exploits while operating as part of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean fleet. John Perryman 2008
2011 - A Year of Naval Commemoration In 2011 the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) embarked on an ongoing project to commemorate the centenaries of some very significant historical events. These events, ranging from the granting of the ‘Royal’ prefix to the Australian Navy in July 1911 through to the bitter struggle to achieve Allied victory in the Great War from 1914 to 1918, were highlighted to a naval and wider audience under the banner of ‘Serving Australia Since Federation'. Dr David Stevens 2011