HMAS
Stuart
(II)

Class
River Class
Type
Destroyer Escort (formerly designated as Anti-submarine Frigate Type 12)
Pennant
DE48
Motto
Semper Paratus - Be Prepared
Builder
Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company, Sydney
Laid Down
20 March 1959
Launched
8 April 1961
Launched by
Mrs J.G. Gorton, wife of Minister for the Navy
Commissioned
28 June 1963
Decommissioned
26 July 1991
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 2700 tons, full load
Length 112.8 meters
Beam 12.5 meters
Draught 5.5 meters
Performance
Speed 30 knots
Complement
Crew 234
Propulsion
Machinery Remote controlled steam boilers and geared steam turbines (two shafts)
Horsepower 30,000
Armament
Missiles
  • Seacat guided-missile system
  • Ikara anti-submarine system
Guns Turret of two 4.5 inch guns controlled by an M22 Fire Control Radar
Torpedoes Two triple barrel anti-submarine torpedo tubes
Awards
Inherited Battle Honours

The type 12 Anti-Submarine Frigate, HMAS Stuart, was the second ship to carry the name in the Royal Australian Navy. She was constructed at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney and launched on 8 April 1961 by Mrs J G Gorton, wife of the then Minister for the Navy. On the day of her launching Sydney Harbour was graced with a warm sunny day and a large crowd of over 4000 people was in attendance. She commissioned at Garden Island, Sydney on 28 June 1963 under the command of Commander Maurice L. Molony, RAN.

 

Stuart fitting out at Cockatoo Island Dockard, Sydney

Stuart fitting out at Cockatoo Island Dockard, Sydney

Stuart undergoing sea trials c.1963. Note the red ensign flying from her quarterdeck.

Stuart undergoing sea trials c.1963. Note the red ensign flying from her quarterdeck.

After working up, Stuart commenced a series of tests and trials of the Australian developed Ikara missile system. Stuart was the first ship to be fitted with the weapon. This task continued to occupy the ship during 1964 and the first half of 1965. A refit followed from August to December 1965.

Following a series of post-refit trials, Stuart departed Sydney 30 May 1966 for Pearl Harbor, where she participated in exercises with the United States Navy. She then proceeded to the Far East, returning to Sydney on 17 January 1967.

A fine profile of Stuart wearing her original pennant number - F21

A fine profile of Stuart wearing her original pennant number - F21.

In May 1967 Stuart rendezvoused with the troop carrier Sydney and escorted her into Vung Tau, South Vietnam. The ships returned to Australia together.

On 4th September 1967 Stuart departed Sydney for a tour of duty with the Far East Strategic Reserve. During this tour she again escorted Sydney into Vung Tau in February 1968.

Stuart returned to Sydney on 1 April 1968 and a week later proceeded to Melbourne to refit at Williamstown Dockyard. Following the refit she returned to Sydney on 2 October 1968 and during the next five months was mainly engaged in exercises and trials.

Departing Sydney on 22 March 1969, Stuart began another tour of duty with the Far East Strategic Reserve. It was during this tour that the ship was one of the Australian vessels participating in a SEATO exercise in the South China Sea, in the course of which the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans sank with heavy loss of life after a collision with the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. Stuart returned to Sydney on 13 October 1969.

HMAS Stuart conducting a replenishment at sea. In 1969 she adopted a the new style pennant number '48' seen here.

HMAS Stuart conducting a replenishment at sea. In 1969 she adopted a new style pennant number '48' seen here.

A period of exercises followed. In April 1970 Stuart acted as escort to the Royal Yacht Britannia during the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to Australia.

A further tour of duty with the Far East Strategic Reserve began with Stuart’s departure from Sydney on 11 May 1970 and ended with her return on 15 October 1970. Further exercises and trials followed.

On 19 April 1972 Stuart departed Sydney for deployment with the ANZUK Forces in the Far East, followed by a visit to Pearl Harbor in August/September 1972 for exercises with US, Canadian and other Australian Ships. She returned to Sydney on 6 October 1972.

Stuart remained in the Sydney area until August 1973 when she took part in RIMPAC exercises, returning in October 1973. In November 1973 she again left Australian waters, this time for Singapore to take part in exercise SANDGROPER. She deployed to South East Asia in June 1974, remaining until November. In December 1974 and January 1975 she participated in the relief of Darwin following Cyclone Tracy. Most of 1975 was spent in refit.

Stuart at sea following her mid-life refit that saw her LWO radar aerial removed from the foremast and situated on the aft superstructure

Stuart at sea following her mid-life refit that saw her LWO radar aerial removed from the foremast and situated on the aft superstructure.

In June 1976 Stuart deployed in company with HMAS Vampire to the west coast of the United States and Canada as part of the American bicentenary celebrations. Ports visited included: Pago Pago, Pearl Harbor, San Diego, San Francisco and Esquimalt. On her return to Australia later in the year she participated in Exercise KANGAROO II before carrying out a circumnaviagtion of Australia in company with HMA Ships Supply, Stalwart and Torrens.

Your INR performance was absolutely superb. The smartness of ships, the appearance and demeanor of crew were a matter of great personal pride to all. The enthusiasm, spirit, and total professionalism of all hands efforts made this observance one of those proud moments in oue Navy - Marine Corps and Nation's history - Well done

CINCLANTFLT Admiral Isaac Kidd, JR, USN

Commander Chris Hole,RAN (front right) with his ship's company, 1976.

The period to July 1977 saw Stuart operating mainly in the Eastern Australia Exercise Area before deploying to South East Asia during the second half of the year. During this deployment she visited Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila and Penang before venturing west to Christmas Island to take part in territories Day celebrations. She returned to Sydney on 17 December in time for Christmas.

In contrast, 1978 saw Stuart confined mainly to Australian waters with the exception of a brief visit to Fiji in May. On Friday 2 March 1979 Stuart was decommissioned in preparation for an extensive 28 month, half-life, modernisation at Williamstown Naval Dockyard. The aim of the refit was to improve the ship's operational effectiveness and life. It transpired that the modernization dragged out to over four years and it was not until 29 July 1983 that she recommissioned under the command of Commander C.A. Barrie, RAN.

Stuart remained in Australian waters working up and exercising until May 1984 when she commenced the first of three South East Asian deployments, returning from the last in September 1986. In February 1987 Stuart again entered refit, followed by six months as part of the RAN training squadron with HMAS Stalwart and HMAS Jervis Bay. In November 1988, she returned to Western Australia.

Stuart departing Port Jackson, Sydney c. 1990
Stuart departing Port Jackson, Sydney c. 1990

Stuart was originally intended to leave service in early 1990, however her commission was extended until 1991 to maintain Navy’s capabilities.

HMAS Stuart was paid off into reserve on 26 July 1991. She was later sold for scrapping.

Stuart being taken in tow for the breakers yard. Her 4.5-inch gun turret was removed from the ship on decommissioning and is situated at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling
Stuart being taken in tow for the breakers yard. Her 4.5-inch gun turret was removed from the ship on decommissioning and is situated at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling