HMAS Brisbane (I)
HMA Naval Dockyard, Cockatoo Island, Sydney
25 January 1913
30 September 1915
Mrs Fisher, wife of the Prime Minister
31 October 1916
24 September 1935
|Dimensions and weights|
|Length||456 feet 8 3/8 inches (overall)|
|Beam||49 feet 10 inches|
|Draught||19 feet 11 inches (maximum)|
|Speed||25 ½ knots|
|Machinery||Parsons turbines, 4 screws|
|Torpedoes||2 x 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes (broadside)|
HMAS Brisbane and her sister ships HMA Ships Melbourne and Sydney were the first cruisers built for the RAN. They were constructed to the design of the 'Chatham' group of the British 'Town' Class.
Brisbane commissioned at Sydney on 31 October 1916 under the command of Captain Claude L. Cumberlege RN. On 13 December 1916 she departed Sydney for war service in the Mediterranean, arriving at Malta on 4 February 1917. However, after a brief stay during which she took no part in operations, the ship was transferred to the Indian Ocean to assist in the hunt for the German commerce raiders Wolf and Seeadler. The transfer of a Sopwith Baby seaplane from the seaplane carrier HMS Raven (II) to Brisbane early in 1917 was the RAN's first involvement in naval aviation. When ordered to Australia in June 1917 the ship unfortunately had to give up the aircraft. She operated on patrol duty off the Western Australian coast until late September.
Between October 1917 and January 1918 Brisbane served on patrol duty in the western Pacific, visiting the Solomon Islands, Nauru, Ocean Island, Tarawa (Gilbert Group) and Fiji. From February to October 1918 she served in Australian waters.
On 30 October 1918 Brisbane departed Fremantle for England and was at sea en route Colombo to Aden when the Armistice of 11 November 1918 ended hostilities in World War I. She reached Mudros on Lemnos Island on 26 November 1918 and spent a month with the Australian Destroyer Flotilla in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea before completing her voyage to England. At Portsmouth Dockyard in January 1919 the ship commenced a refit lasting three months.
Brisbane sailed from Portsmouth for Australia on 17 April 1919. Earlier in the year the British Admiralty had presented to Australia six 'J' Class submarines. Escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the submarine depot ship HMAS Platypus, the submarines had left Portsmouth for Australia earlier in the month. Later Sydney detached. En route Brisbane assumed responsibility for the escort of HMA Submarine J5 and towed her for some of the voyage to Sydney. Proceeding ahead of Platypus and the other submarines, Brisbane and J5 arrived at Sydney on 27 June 1919.
Brisbane served mainly in Australian waters until she paid off into Reserve at Sydney on 4 August 1922. In March 1921 she had visited Singapore flying the flag of Rear Admiral Sir Percy Grant KCVO CB RN, First Naval Member, who for the purposes of attendance at a conference had been temporarily appointed as Commander-in-Chief, Australian Naval Station.
On 14 April 1923 Brisbane recommissioned at Sydney. She served mainly in Australian waters until February 1925 when, in company with Sydney, she again visited Singapore in connection with a naval conference. On that occasion Rear Admiral P.H. Hall-Thompson CB CMG RN, First Naval Member, was temporarily appointed as Commander-in-Chief, Australian Naval Station, as Sir Percy Grant had been in 1921. Rear Admiral Hall-Thompson hoisted his flag in Sydney.
From February to August 1925 Brisbane served on exchange duty in the Far East with the China Squadron of the Royal Navy. HMS Concord replaced her. Brisbane returned to Sydney on 30 August 1925 and paid off into Reserve on 7 October 1925.
On completion of a refit Brisbane recommissioned at Sydney on 17 November 1925 as a training ship. In this role the ship was based at Flinders Naval Depot. She paid off again at Sydney on 30 October 1926 to undergo a long refit and recommissioned for training duties on 28 June 1928. The ship paid off into Reserve at Sydney on 22 January 1929. As a training ship Brisbane served mainly in Australian waters, although in August 1928 she visited Honolulu to take part in the sesquicentennial celebrations of the discovery of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands) by Captain James Cook RN.
On 16 August 1929 Brisbane commissioned in 'C' Class Reserve and on 1 December 1930 she paid off into 'E' Class Reserve.
The ship recommissioned at Sydney on 2 April 1935 and on 2 May 1935 she sailed for England manned by a complement which would form the balance of the ship's company of the second HMAS Sydney (ex-HMS Phaeton), a Modified 'Leander' Class light cruiser. En route Brisbane assisted the sloop HMS Hastings, which had run aground in the Red Sea. The ship arrived at Portsmouth on 12 July 1935, where she finally paid off on 24 September 1935.
In June 1936 Brisbane was sold for breaking up to Thomas Ward & Co Ltd of Sheffield, England, for £19,125.