HMAS
Geelong
(I)

HMAS Geelong (I)
Pennant
J201
Builder
Melbourne Harbour Trust, Williamstown
Laid Down
16 October 1940
Launched
22 April 1941
Launched by
Lady Dugan, wife of the Governor of Victoria
Commissioned
16 January 1942
Decommissioned
18 October 1944
Fate
Sank on 18 October 1944 following a collision with United States Tanker York
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 650 tons
Length 186 feet
Beam 31 feet
Draught 8 feet 6 inches
Performance
Speed 15 knots
Complement
Crew 85
Propulsion
Horsepower 1,750
Armament
Guns
  • 1 x 4-inch gun
  • Machine Guns
Other Armament
  • 3 x Oerlikons
  • Depth Charges Chutes and Throwers
Awards
Battle Honours

HMAS Geelong was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers (commonly known as corvettes) built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government’s wartime shipbuilding programme. Twenty were built on Admiralty order but manned and commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy. Thirty-six (including Geelong) were built for the Royal Australian Navy and four for the Royal Indian Navy.

Geelong was launched on 22 April 1941 by Lady Dugan, wife of the Governor of Victoria and commissioned at Melbourne on 16 January 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Colin G. Hill, MBE, RANR(S).

After commissioning Geelong proceeded to her namesake city the following day for a one day visit, after which she commenced her trials and working up exercises.

Operational war service began with a brief period of minesweeping and anti-submarine duty on the Australian east coast. On 8 March 1942 Geelong departed from Brisbane for New Caledonia where she served on anti-submarine duties in the Noumea area until May 1942. In June 1942 she began a period of convoy escort duty between Sydney and Queensland ports which lasted until January 1944, when she proceeded to Adelaide for a refit which lasted until March 1944.

Following a further brief period of service in Australian waters, Geelong proceeded to the New Guinea theatre of operations, arriving at Milne Bay on 17 April 1944. The next six months were spent on convoy escort duties in the South West Pacific Area, mainly in New Guinea and New Britain waters, and as an anti-submarine patrol vessel in the Solomons Sea.

On 18 October 1944 Geelong sank following a collision with the United States tanker York (10,488 tons) in position 6°4´S, 147°45´E, north of Langemak, New Guinea. There were no casualties. The survivors were picked up by York and landed at Langemak, from where they were taken to Milne Bay by aircraft and her sister ship HMAS Ararat.

HMAS Geelong General Arrangement Drawing (Webb Warships)
HMAS Geelong General Arrangement Drawing (Webb Warships Pty Ltd 1977)

Further Reading

  1. The Corvettes: Forgotten Ships of the Royal Australian Navy by Iris Nesdale - published by the Author, October, 1982.
  2. Corvettes - Little Ships for Big Men by Frank B. Walker - published by Kingfisher Press, NSW, 1996.