HMAS Wallaroo (I)
Bathurst Class
Australian Minesweeper
Poole and Steel Ltd, Sydney
Laid Down
24 April 1941
18 February 1942
Launched by
Mrs Poole, wife of the Chairman of Directors, Poole and Steel Ltd
15 July 1942
11 June 1943
Lost at sea on 11 June 1943
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 650 tons
Length 186 feet
Beam 31 feet
Draught 8 feet 6 inches
Speed 15 knots
Machinery Triple expansion, 2 shafts
Horsepower 2,000
Guns 1 x 4-inch gun
Other Armament 3 x 20mm Oerlikons
Battle Honours PACIFIC 1942

HMAS Wallaroo 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 Wallaroo) were built for the Royal Australian Navy and four for the Royal Indian Navy.



Group portrait of official group at HMAS Wallaroo's launching. L-R: Mr A. Poole, Rev. Rix who conducted the religious ceremony, Mrs Poole, Junior., Mrs Poole, Senior, Wife of the managing director of the dockyard and the launching lady, Commodore Muirhead-Gould and Mr A. Poole, Senior (AWM 011630).

Wallaroo commissioned at Sydney on 15 July 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Eric S. Ross RANR(S).

Wallaroo had a very short and uneventful life. She commenced duty on anti-submarine patrols between Adelaide, Geraldton and Fremantle in September 1942. She was also employed on escort duties and minesweeping in the Fremantle area.

She met her end in the early hours of 11 June 1943 when she sank as the result of a collision with the United States Liberty Ship Henry Gilbert Costin. The collision occurred shortly after midnight off the Western Australian coast, approximately west of Fremantle. The night was dark and overcast and in accordance with wartime precautions the vessels were steaming without lights.

Some four hours after the collision, while endeavouring to reach Fremantle, Wallaroo sank. Henry Gilbert Costin reached port safely with no casualties and only minor damage. Three ratings from Wallaroo lost their lives at the time of the collision.



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.