HMAS
Uki

Pennant
FY80
Builder
Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow, Scotland
Commissioned
11 December 1939
Decommissioned
24 December 1942
Fate
Returned to owners 27 October 1944
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 545 tons
Length 153 ft
Beam 34 ft
Draught 8 ft 6 in
Performance
Speed 9 knots
Complement
Crew 28
Propulsion
Machinery Triple Expansion
Horsepower 70
Armament
Guns
  • 1 x 12 Pounder Gun
  • 1 Vickers .303-inch Machine Gun
Other Armament 2 Depth Charge Chutes

The steel, twin-screw steamship Uki was built by Lithgows Ltd. of Glasgow, Scotland, for service in the northern New South Wales coastal river trade and named after the northern New South Wales town of Uki in the Tweed Valley.

She was requisitioned in Sydney from her owners, the North Coast Steam Navigation Company, for naval service on 3 November 1939.

HMAS Uki prior to being requisitioned for Naval service, October 1939.
HMAS Uki prior to being requisitioned for naval service, October 1939.

The following day she departed for Melbourne to be fitted out as an auxiliary minesweeper. She commissioned in Melbourne as HMAS Uki on 11 December 1939 under the command of Lieutenant Maurice Boyd, RANR(S).

 

HMAS Uki following her fit out which saw the addition of a forward 12 pounder gun and minesweeping winch, Williamstown, Victoria.
HMAS Uki following her fit out which saw the addition of a forward 12 pounder gun and minesweeping winch, Williamstown, Victoria.

Uki departed Melbourne on 15 January 1940 arriving in Newcastle four days later where she took up duty as a unit of Minesweeping Group 77. For most of the next two years, Uki, along with six other auxiliary minesweepers based in Newcastle and Sydney, performed the monotonous but necessary task of minesweeping off the New South Wales coast, maintaining a clear channel some 25nm off-shore.

By the end of 1941, 73 German mines had been located in Australian waters. Most were destroyed at sea by rifle fire or were dealt with by the Rendering Mines Safe section after being washed ashore.


Starboard aspect of HMAS Uki.

On 17 November 1941, Uki departed Newcastle to join Minesweeping Group 54 based in Melbourne. Two days later, the crew sighted a German mine off Montagu Island on the NSW south coast, hoisted it on deck and returned it to port for further examination. She arrived in Williamstown on 23 November where she continued minesweeping operations until the end of 1942.

Crew members surround the German mine that was picked up off Montague Isalnd. (AWM 128092)
Crew members surround the German mine that was picked up off Montague Isalnd. (AWM 128092)

Uki decommissioned in Melbourne on Christmas Eve 1942 and was transferred to the United States Navy for service as a stores carrier in Queensland waters. She was transferred back to the RAN on 29 September 1944 and returned to her owners on 27 October 1944.

Uki returned to the coastal trade post-war until the North Coast Steam Navigation Company ceased operations in 1954. She was subsequently sold to M. Bern & Co. and used as a gravel barge on the Brisbane River before being scuttled as a breakwater off Tangalooma, Moreton Bay, in June 1976. 

HMAS Uki now forms part of what is well known as the 'Tangalooma Wrecks' in Moreton Bay (http://www.everythingaustralia.com/adventure-moreton-island-brisbane-1039/)

HMAS Uki now forms part of what is well known as the 'Tangalooma Wrecks' in Moreton Bay (http://www.everythingaustralia.com/adventure-moreton-island-brisbane-1039/)

Commanding Officers

3/11/1939        Lieutenant Maurice Boyd, RANR(S)

13/10/1941      Lieutenant Hudson C. Asher, RANR(S)

1/5/1942          Lieutenant Charles H. Thompson, RANR(S)

12/8/1942        Lieutenant Robert W. Booth, RANR(S)