Boom Working Vessel
Cockatoo Docks and Enginering Company, Sydney, NSW
21 June 1939
4 November 1939
Mrs W.N. Custance, wife of Rear-Admiral Wilfred N. Custance, CB
7 February 1940
18 April 1957
|Dimensions & Displacement|
|Length||178 feet 9 inches|
|Beam||32 feet 3 inches|
|Draught||11 feet 3 inches|
|Machinery||Triple expansion inverted cylinder|
|Battle Honours||DARWIN 1942–43|
HMAS Koala was constructed to a design similar to that of the Royal Navy's Bar class vessels.
The ship commissioned at Sydney on 7 February 1940 under the command of Boatswain Eric D. Willder, RAN.
Koala sailed for Darwin on 9 April 1940, arriving there on 29 April. Following the first air raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942, she was transferred to Brisbane for some three months before returning to Darwin on 5 June 1942 where she resumed her boom defence duties, serving in that capacity until 30 April 1945.
In the post war period Koala served in eastern and western Australian waters and in New Guinea where she was involved in harbour duties, buoy laying and recovery and boom defence training. Her sea-going service ended at Sydney on 8 November 1956 having steamed 79, 183.9 nautical miles. On 18 April 1957 she was placed in Reserve Commission at Waverton Boom Depot. Koala was eventually sold late in 1969 and was later used as a gravel barge in Brisbane
On 28 January 1974, during the disastrous Brisbane flood, the gravel barge Koala severely damaged the Centenary Bridge at Jindalee when it broke free of its moorings. It was subsequently sunk using explosives where it came to rest. Later, in 1976, consideration was given to raising the vessel but it is not known whether these efforts were successful.