HMAS
Brisbane
(II) part 2

HMAS Brisbane (II) Badge
Class
Charles F Adams (Modified Perth) Class
Type
Guided Missile Destroyer
Pennant
D41
Builder
Defoe Shipbuilding, Bay City Michigan, USA
Laid Down
15 February 1965
Launched
5 May 1966
Launched by
Mrs FC Chaney, Wife of Minister for the Navy
Commissioned
16 December 1967
Decommissioned
19 October 2001
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 4850 tonnes
Length 133.2 metres
Beam 14.3 metres
Draught 6.1 metres
Performance
Speed 36 knots
Complement
Crew 311
Propulsion
Machinery Two General Electric geared steam turbines driving two shafts
Horsepower 70,000
Armament
Missiles SM-1 surface-to-air missiles
Guns 2 x 5-inch 54 calibre rapid fire guns
Torpedoes 2 x Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes
Awards
Inherited Battle Honours INDIAN OCEAN 1917
Battle Honours
HMAS Brisbane (II) Badge

HMAS Brisbane (II) part 1

The advent of the 1990s saw Brisbane return to sea on 31 January 1990 to participate in a Fleet Concentration Period in New Zealand waters in February. She returned to Sydney on 22 February and commenced preparations to deploy to Hawaii for RIMPAC 90. Brisbane departed Sydney on 26 March in company with HMA Ships Adelaide (II), Darwin and Success (II).

Embarked in Brisbane was a stationary bike which was to 'race' the ship to Hawaii. The bike was ridden 24 hours a day with 50 members taking 45 minute shifts. The ship's Physical Training Instructor, Leading Seaman Danny Healy, came up with the idea to raise money for Tufnell House while motivating the ship's company to stay physically fit. Healy himself rode the first leg. Upon the ship's arrival at Pearl Harbor on 8 April, the charity bike ride had completed 330 hours and 8948kms, raising some $3000 for the charity.

HMAS Brisbane at sea, circa May 1990.
HMAS Brisbane at sea, circa May 1990.

RIMPAC exercises began on 16 April and continued throughout the month until 8 May. Brisbane remained in the Hawaiian exercise area after RIMPAC, later setting a course for home on 31 May. She arrived back in Sydney, via Pago Pago and Noumea, on 21 June and participated in Exercise PITCH BLACK off the Northern Territory in July. Brisbane again visited her namesake city at the beginning of August where members of her crew formed a working bee at Tufnell House, presenting the home with a cheque for $3000 and a new television, the proceeds of which were from the Hawaiian charity bike ride.

Brisbane arrived back home in Sydney on 6 August where an unscheduled upgrade began to better prepare the destroyer for a potential operational deployment to the Arabian Gulf.

On 10 August 1990 the then Prime Minister RJ Hawke affirmed Australia's commitment to send RAN warships to the Persian Gulf as part of a Multinational Naval Force assembling to enforce sanctions on Iraq following its invasion of neighbouring Kuwait. Under the Australian codename Operation DAMASK, HMA Ships Adelaide (II), Darwin and Success (II) were the first to sail, with Brisbane and Sydney (IV) tipped to follow later.

A number of Brisbane's on board systems were upgraded. Besides satellite communications equipment and electro-optical surveillance systems, these improvements included; new electronic warfare equipment; better chaff decoy rounds; radar absorbent material (RAM) panels to reduce the ship's radar cross section; and extra firefighting and damage control equipment. To improve efficiency of boarding operations the old sea boats were replaced with two new rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) which were to prove their worth during subsequent boarding operations in the Gulf. The most prominent structural change was the installation by dockyard workers of a pair of Phalanx Close-in-Weapons Systems (CIWS) for greater protection against missile attack.

The Phalanx Close-In-Weapons System (CIWS) installed in HMAS Brisbane prior to her deployment to the Middle East.
The Phalanx Close-In-Weapons System (CIWS) installed in HMAS Brisbane prior to her deployment to the Middle East.
Left: Installation of port side mount onto magazine deck of HMAS Brisbane, 8 October 1990. Middle: Installation of port side magazine, 4 October 1990. Right: Inspection of construction by Chief of Naval Staff, VADM MW Hudson, AC, RAN.
Left: Installation of port side mount onto magazine deck of HMAS Brisbane, 8 October 1990. Middle: Installation of port side magazine, 4 October 1990. Right: Inspection of construction by Chief of Naval Staff, VADM MW Hudson, AC, RAN.

On 15 October Brisbane, in company with Sydney, sailed for a tailored two week pre-deployment workup before both ships departed for the Middle East on 12 November under the auspices of Operation DAMASK II. A number of VIPs farewelled the ship's company including Prime Minister Bob Hawke, AC, MP, and the Premier of New South Wales, Nick Greiner, MLA.

HMA Ships Brisbane and Sydney leaving Sydney Harbour en route to the Middle Eastern Area of Operation.
HMA Ships Brisbane and Sydney leaving Sydney Harbour en route to the Middle Eastern Area of Operation.

On 30 November, just before entering the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO), the ships were advised that the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 678 authorising the use of force against Iraq unless it withdrew from Kuwait by 15 January 1991. On 3 December, Prime Minister Hawke announced that Australian units were allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and enter the Arabian Gulf. Brisbane and Sydney were to form part of the largest grouping of warships seen since the end of World War II. The multi-national coalition included some 90 warships, more than 100 logistic, amphibious and smaller craft, and 800 aircraft from 15 nations.

L-R: HMA Ships Brisbane (II), Adelaide (II), Success (II), Darwin and Sydney (IV) as part of Operation DAMASK II in the Middle Eastern Area of Operation, circa December 1990.
L-R: HMA Ships Brisbane (II), Adelaide (II), Success (II), Darwin and Sydney (IV) as part of Operation DAMASK II in the Middle Eastern Area of Operation, circa December 1990.
Left: HMAS Brisbane's 23rd birthday cake being cut by the ship's WEEO, CMDR Barry Evans and SMN Beutel, 16 December 1990. Right: HMAS Sydney's helo collects mail from HMAS Brisbane for dispatch to Bahrain for the C130 trip back to Australia.
Left: HMAS Brisbane's 23rd birthday cake being cut by the ship's WEEO, CMDR Barry Evans and SMN Beutel, 16 December 1990. Right: HMAS Sydney's helo collects mail from HMAS Brisbane for dispatch to Bahrain for the C130 trip back to Australia.
 

Brisbane and Sydney arrived in the MEAO, via Fremantle and Diego Garcia, on 3 December 1990. They rendezvoused with HMA Ships Success (II), Darwin and Adelaide (II) that morning and conducted a thorough handover after which they commenced Maritime Interception Force (MIF) duties. They sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Arabian Gulf for the first time on 16 December, Brisbane's 23rd birthday. The two ships conducted patrol operations in the Central Gulf. Brisbane spent Christmas alongside in Bahrain before recommencing patrol duties on 27 December. A scheduled port visit to Dubai was delayed in early January 1991 when, over the course of 36 hours, Brisbane came to the assistance of three separate merchant vessels, one of which, MV Demetra Beauty, claimed to have struck a mine in the Gulf of Oman but refused any assistance which required anyone to board and inspect her hull. Her crew was rescued by the Omani patrol vessel Mussadan and the merchant ship Sumara before Demetra Beauty sank.

Operation DAMASK II.
Operation DAMASK II.
 
Operation DAMASK II.
Operation DAMASK II.
 
Left: The leader of the National Party, Mr Tim Fischer, being strapped into HMAS Sydney's Seahawk helicopter by the observer, LCDR 'Irish' McNeil, for transfer to HMAS Brisbane. Right: The leader of the National Party, Mr Tim Fischer, addresses the ship's company of HMAS Brisbane on Christmas Day 1990, accompanied by the Commanding Officer, Captain CA Ritchie, RAN.
Left: The leader of the National Party, Mr Tim Fischer, being strapped into HMAS Sydney's Seahawk helicopter by the observer, LCDR 'Irish' McNeil, for transfer to HMAS Brisbane. Right: The leader of the National Party, Mr Tim Fischer, addresses the ship's company of HMAS Brisbane on Christmas Day 1990, accompanied by the Commanding Officer, Captain CA Ritchie, RAN.

The UN deadline of 16 January 1991 passed without incident, but at 2:30am on 17 January Operation DESERT STORM began. Sydney and Brisbane formed part of the air defence screen around Battle Force Zulu which included up to three USN aircraft carriers. These duties continued for the duration of the war with Brisbane operating primarily in the North and Central Arabian Gulf. Additional duties during the course of the war included search and rescue, aircraft control and escort of detached units. US President George Bush announced a cease fire on 28 February 1991, though Brisbane's responsibilities in the Battle Force Zulu screen remained largely unchanged. Brisbane and Sydney proceeded out of the Arabian Gulf for the last time on 22 March and exited the MEAO on 26 March. They arrived back in Sydney, via Singapore, Darwin and Brisbane, on 22 April where they began a well earned leave and maintenance period. Brisbane was subsequently awarded an Australian Meritorious Unit Citation in recognition of her service during Gulf War I.

Left: Personnel on the bridge during action stations. Right: Brisbane's cooks with their Akubras.
Left: Personnel on the bridge during action stations. Right: Brisbane's cooks with their Akubras.
Right: School children on the wharf waiting for Brisbane to berth after returning from the gulf. Right: AB Steven Bradley and LS Michael Bush from HMAS Brisbane.
Right: School children on the wharf waiting for Brisbane to berth after returning from the gulf. Right: AB Steven Bradley and LS Michael Bush from HMAS Brisbane.

Following a period alongside in Sydney, Brisbane returned to sea on 26 June resuming the normal program of exercises, training and maintenance. She conducted a successful 'welcome home' visit to Melbourne from 5 to 9 July and the ship's company participated in the Gulf Welcome Home parade in Sydney on 5 August. Later that month she participated in Exercise PITCH BLACK off the Northern Territory before conducting passage exercises with Malaysian and Singaporean ships between Darwin and Cape York in early September.

Brisbane departed Darwin, in company with Sydney, on 10 September bound for South East Asia. The pair separated on 14 September with Sydney continuing on to Singapore en route to the Middle East, while Brisbane went on to Penang and Phuket before visiting Singapore, where she took part in a multi-national Integrated Air Defence Series (IADS) exercise. She returned to Sydney, via Darwin and Brisbane, on 22 October. A Fleet Concentration Period in November was her last major fleet exercise for the year.

During the early part of 1992 Brisbane underwent an extended maintenance period before participating in another Fleet Concentration Period and Exercise CORAL SEA in April. On 1 May she joined 11 other RAN and USN vessels, led by the 80,000 tonne aircraft carrier USS Independence, in a fleet entry into Sydney Harbour commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. She departed later in the day, in company with USS Reuben James, for a four day visit to Melbourne to participate in further Coral Sea commemorations including a march through the streets of Melbourne concluding with a memorial service at the Shrine of Remembrance. Later that month she conducted trials for the Nulka missile decoy system off Jervis Bay becoming the first ship in the world to fire Nulka on 18 May.

Brisbane visited her namesake city in June, where crew members conducted another working bee at Tufnell House, before continuing northwards to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area to participate in Exercise TASMAN LINK in late June and early July. Upon her return to Sydney she participated in festivities celebrating Sydney's sesquicentenary with 52 members of the ship's company forming part of the Heritage Guard which marched through the streets of the city on 18 July.

On 3 August, Brisbane departed Sydney for a four month deployment to South East Asia, via Western Australia. She conducted exercises in Western Australian waters in company with HMA Ships Perth (II), Torrens (II) and Derwent, and HMNZS Waikato in August before departing for Asian waters on 22 August in company with Perth and Torrens.

Brisbane visited Jakarta, Singapore, Lumut, Sattahip, Kota Kinabalu, Iloilo and Hong Kong during the course of her deployment; and participated in the international IADS exercise and Exercise STARFISH off the east coast of Malaysia in September. She arrived back in Sydney, via Darwin, and an unscheduled stop at Mackay to transfer an injured sailor to hospital on 26 November.

HMAS Brisbane leads the fleet en route to the Fleet Concentration Period, circa February 1993.
HMAS Brisbane leads the fleet en route to the Fleet Concentration Period, circa February 1993.

Brisbane participated in a Fleet Concentration Period and Exercise TASMANEX in New Zealand waters in February 1993. She visited Port Kembla in the first week of May for the opening of Harbourfest and also visited Jervis Bay, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Gladstone and Townsville, conducting in-company training with Perth, before participating in Exercise TASMAN LINK in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area at the end of the month. She returned to Sydney, via Gladstone and Brisbane, on 18 June and commenced preparations for a refit which kept her alongside in Sydney for ten months.

The refit included extensive work on the ship's habitability, communications, weapons and propulsion systems, and hull preservation work. A rededication ceremony was held on 24 May 1994 at which the National Safety Council presented Brisbane and ADI-NED with a Three-Star Safety Award acknowledging the high level of safety maintained during the refit. Brisbane returned to sea on 26 May to conduct post-refit trials before beginning work-up exercises on 27 June.

With her workup complete and having successfully passed an Operational Readiness Evaluation, Brisbane departed Sydney on 10 August for South East Asian waters. She visited her namesake city en route and participated in a Fleet Concentration Period off the Northern Territory before continuing northwards in company with HMA Ships Adelaide (II), Melbourne (III), Newcastle and HMNZS Wellington. She later rendezvoused with HMAS Westralia (II) and HMNZS Endeavour. The task group then split into two before Brisbane accompanied the two New Zealand ships to Singapore, arriving there on 30 August.

The deployment continued with participation in the multi-national Exercise STARFISH and IADS off the east coast of Malaysia in September. Poor weather, however, curtailed the IADS exercises and Brisbane returned to Singapore at the end of the month. She went on to visit Hong Kong before taking part in commemorative events for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf in Tacloban, Philippines, from 19 to 21 October. She continued on to Nagasaki, Singapore and Penang before arriving at HMAS Stirling on 17 November. She then returned home to Sydney, via Adelaide and Hobart, on 9 December.

The new year began with a shakedown and workup exercises on 7 February 1995. In the early hours of 8 March, Brisbane closed a Russian merchant ship MV Rybnovsk in order to transfer a critically ill sailor to shore after an earlier attempt to transfer the sailor by helicopter was aborted due to inclement weather. The sailor was subsequently landed at Jervis Bay where he made a full recovery.

Brisbane later took part in Exercise TASMANEX which began in Townsville in April and which was conducted across the Coral and Tasman Seas over the course of ten days before concluding in Auckland. She returned to Sydney at the end of the month before proceeding to Queensland waters at the end of May to participate in Exercise TASMAN LINK in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. The exercise ended in early June and Brisbane returned to Sydney via Gladstone.

She again steamed northwards on 24 July in company with HMA Ships Perth (II) and Newcastle to participate in Exercise KANGAROO 95 off the coast of Far North Queensland. The exercise concluded on 24 August as the Task Group entered Darwin Harbour that day.

HMAS Brisbane (II).
HMAS Brisbane (II).
 

Brisbane departed Darwin, in company with HMA Ships Perth (II) and Westralia (II), bound for South East Asia on 28 August. She arrived in Lumut on 4 September before commencing Exercise STARFISH off the east coast of Malaysia five days later. She then visited Sattahip, Thailand, upon conclusion of the exercise before proceeding to Singapore at the end of the month. There she participated in Exercises SINGAROO off Singapore and ZEEHOUND 2 in the Malacca Strait in October before proceeding on to conduct port visits to Phuket and Surabaya. The destroyer returned to Sydney, via Cairns, on 21 November.

In early February 1996 Brisbane visited Melbourne where she participated in contractor trials with NUSHIP Anzac, before taking part in a Fleet Concentration Period conducted off the New South Wales coast. It was during February that the ship also adopted corporate sponsorship of Abdul the Black Panther at Taronga Park Zoo. This was a symbolic gesture recognising the use of a black panther as the centrepiece in the ship's official badge.

A deployment to South East Asian waters followed in February, visiting Mackay and Darwin en route, and skirting the edges of Tropical Cyclone Ethel in the Gulf of Carpentaria. She arrived in Singapore on 19 March and again participated in an IADS exercise at the end of the month. She visited Jakarta in early April before setting course for Australia and avoiding a second tropical cyclone, Olivia, in the Timor Sea. She arrived back in Sydney, via Darwin and Townsville, on 18 April.

A passage to New Zealand waters to conduct Anti-Submarine Warfare training followed in April, bookended by two visits to Auckland before the ship returned, to Sydney on 16 May. After a period alongside conducting maintenance, she departed Sydney in company with HMAS Perth (II) and HMNZ Ships Endeavour, Canterbury and Waikato on 29 July for Darwin and a Fleet Concentration Period followed by another South East Asian deployment. She departed Darwin on 26 August following the Fleet Concentration Period and proceeded directly to Pulau Tioman off the east coast of Malaysia for the beginning of Exercise STARFISH in early September. STARFISH concluded on 13 September and Brisbane then went on to visit Sattahip and Singapore later that month, and Ujang Pandang, Indonesia, in October.

HMA Ships Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Westralia conduct boat transfers in the early morning.
HMA Ships Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Westralia conduct boat transfers in the early morning.

Brisbane set course for home on 7 October but that evening made an emergency visit to Benoa, Bali, where, with the assistance of Indonesian Navy units, she landed a sailor suffering from suspected appendicitis. She participated in Exercise MARITIME GUARD with HMA Ships Adelaide (II) and Westralia (II) en route back to Australia, and arrived back in Darwin on 11 October where she took part in Exercise SINGAROO.

From 21 to 23 October Brisbane visited Port Hedland for that city's centenary celebrations. Among the guests during her visit were the Governor of Western Australia His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffrey AO, MC, and Australian music icon Mr Slim Dusty. Brisbane arrived at Stirling on 26 October to undertake a maintenance period. She visited Albany and Adelaide, and conducted naval gunfire support and anti-submarine warfare serials in Jervis Bay, en route back to Sydney, where she arrived on 22 November. Brisbane was awarded the Duke of Gloucester's Cup as the most proficient ship in the fleet in 1996, the third time that she received that honour.

Brisbane again participated in the annual Fleet Concentration Period in February 1997 and Exercise TANDEM THRUST in March, the largest joint exercise between Australia and the USA since World War II. The exercise concluded on 22 March and Brisbane accompanied HMAS Adelaide (II) to Darwin.

She commenced another South East Asian deployment on 1 April visiting Phuket before proceeding to Pulau Tioman to participate in Exercise FLYING FISH 97 from 14 to 26 April. She then went on visit Lumut and in early May conducted passage exercises with Canadian and New Zealand naval units en route back to Sydney. She arrived in Sydney, via Darwin and Cairns, on 23 May. The ship returned to northern Australian waters to participate in Exercise KAKADU in late July and early August. Upon the conclusion of the exercise she visited Darwin, Cairns and Mackay before proceeding on to Brisbane where, on 30 August, the ship's company marched through the city and were granted Freedom of Entry to the City of Brisbane in celebration of the ship's 30th anniversary. She returned to Sydney on 4 September.

HMAS Brisbane in company with HMAS Hobart (39) and HMAS Perth (38).
HMAS Brisbane in company with HMAS Hobart (39) and HMAS Perth (38).

Brisbane departed for Western Australian waters late in October where she participated in anti-submarine warfare exercises the following month, and visited Albany, Bunbury and Adelaide as well as HMAS Stirling before arriving back in Sydney on 1 December.

HMAS Brisbane with her sister ships Hobart and Perth alongside.
HMAS Brisbane with her sister ships Hobart and Perth alongside.

Brisbane participated in another Fleet Concentration Period in February 1998 and visited Melbourne and Hobart in March. She remained alongside in Sydney in April and May undergoing maintenance in preparation for her deployment to Hawaii for RIMPAC 98 in June. She was also host to the Chinese replenishment ship Nancang when a PLA-Navy task group visited Sydney from 4 to 7 May.

With her deployment to Hawaii scheduled to begin on 9 June, Brisbane put to sea early in the month for shakedown exercises; however, the failure of her No. 1 Air Conditioning Unit forced her withdrawal from RIMPAC. She consequently remained alongside for most of the month, returning to sea on 29 June for trials and exercises. She conducted a shakedown cruise to Melbourne in early July before resuming the routine program of exercises, training and maintenance.

An amended program, which included another South East Asian deployment, was put in place for the second half of the year consequent to Brisbane's forced withdrawal from RIMPAC. She departed Sydney on 17 August for Townsville where she participated in Exercise NORTHERN ENCOUNTER, which ironically included the RAN task group returning from RIMPAC. She arrived at Darwin at the end of month where she took part in the second Fleet Concentration Period of the year in early September. She departed Darwin in company with HMA Ships Adelaide (II) and Hobart (II) for South East Asian waters, and visited Jakarta and Manado where the trio participated in the International Year of the Ocean Festival which included a ceremonial sailpast reviewed by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie.

She conducted port visits to Singapore, Phuket, Medan, Lumut, Kuantan, Bangkok, and Ujung Padang, and conducted further passage exercises with Australian, Malaysian and Thai naval units. She arrived back at HMAS Stirling on 13 November where she participated in Exercise ASWEX 98, and arrived back in Sydney, via Bunbury, on 29 November.

Some 70 new members rotated into the ship's company in January 1999 before participating in the first Fleet Concentration Period of the year the following month. She entered dry dock at Captain Cook Inner Graving Dock for maintenance in March and returned to sea on 24 May for exercises and trials off the Queensland coast. While the ship was alongside in May, members of the ship's company took part in Operation BANTAM assisting efforts to combat an outbreak of Newcastle Disease in New South Wales poultry farms; and while in Queensland in June, a team of cyclists from the crew conducted a charity bike ride from Gladstone to Brisbane raising nearly $1200 for Tufnell House.

HMAS Brisbane (II).
HMAS Brisbane (II).

Brisbane participated in Exercise NORTHERN ENCOUNTER on passage to Darwin in July, during which she provided assistance to HMAS Balikpapan when the LCH's bow door failed. Exercise KAKADU, off the Northern Territory, followed at the end of July and continued into August. During an anti-aircraft firing exercise, a cartridge failed in the Mount 51 5-inch gun mount causing a fire to erupt inside the turret. The two person crew evacuated the mount safely and the ship went to emergency stations. That the fire was extinguished within three minutes was a credit to the crew and their training. The only injuries were a few minor cases of smoke inhalation but the gun itself suffered extensive damage and was rendered unserviceable. All 5-inch gun firings were stopped until a full investigation could be conducted. It had been intended for the ship to continue her participation in KAKADU after the fire, however, a defect in one of her evaporators on the same day forced her return to Darwin that evening. She rejoined for the final two days of the exercise on 11 August.

Brisbane departed Darwin on 15 August in company with HMA Ships Anzac (III) and Darwin for South East Asia, and visited Jakarta, Singapore and Kuantan before proceeding to Pulau Tioman at the end of the month to participate in Exercise STARDEX. STARDEX concluded on 10 September and Brisbane returned to Sydney, via Kuantan and Cairns, on 24 September. Upon her arrival she commenced a maintenance period which included the replacement of Mount 51 with Mount 52 from the recently decommissioned HMAS Perth (II). She then resumed the normal pattern of routine exercises, training and maintenance at the end of November.

Brisbane's new Mount 51 became fully operational in February 2000 ahead of the ship's participation in the RNZN's Fleet Concentration in March. She visited Devonport and Wellington during her New Zealand deployment before returning to Sydney on 24 March.

She then visited Geelong briefly at the end of April before proceeding up the east coast into Queensland waters in May where she visited Gladstone, Mackay and Brisbane while conducting numerous training evolutions. She returned to Sydney at the end of the month.

Brisbane again proceeded northwards in July to participate in Exercise NORTHERN ENCOUNTER in Far North Queensland. August saw her take part in a Fleet Concentration Period and Exercise SINGAROO, both off the Northern Territory, before departing for north Asian waters on 28 August. Brisbane arrived in Bangkok on 4 September and commenced Exercise AUSTHAI in the Gulf of Thailand five days later. She went on to visit Hong Kong before making a six hour passage up the Yangtze River to Shanghai, in company with HMAS Success (II), on 24 September. The two ships remained in the Chinese port for five days and conducted brief passage exercises with the escorting PLA-N frigate upon their departure on 29 September. The two ships then participated in Exercise GOODWILL, along with HMA Ships Darwin and Canberra (II), in Japanese waters in October during which they visited Yokosuka, Tokyo and Kure. They visited Guam en route back Australia and, while transiting through the Federated States of Micronesia towards the end of the month, conducted Operation BIG EYE 2, a fisheries surveillance operation, in conjunction with Micronesian vessels and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft. Brisbane arrived back in Sydney, via Cairns, on 3 November marking the end of the ship's last 'up top' deployment.

Brisbane commenced her final calendar year in commission by striking the ship's bell continuously for five minutes from 3:55 to 4:00pm on 1 January 2001 to 'ring in' the Centenary of Federation. She put to sea for shakedown exercises on 30 January before departing for Hobart on 7 February. There she acted as flagship for the Royal Hobart Regatta before returning to Sydney on 15 February where she participated in Exercise OCEAN PROTECTOR at the end of the month.

HMAS Brisbane firing Standard Missile.
HMAS Brisbane firing Standard Missile.

She took part in Exercise TASMANEX in March along with other Australian, French and New Zealand naval units, transiting the Tasman Sea to New Zealand waters. TASMANEX concluded on 14 March and the following day the participating ships conducted a Fleet Entry into Auckland Harbour. She went on to visit Wellington before returning to Sydney on 28 March.

Brisbane conducted a four day visit to her namesake city early in April where she supported the 60th anniversary of the International Rats of Tobruk Association, which included numerous guided tours and two open days. She returned to Queensland waters in May to participate in Exercise TANDEM THRUST during which she spent some time exercising as part of the USS Kitty Hawk Battle Group. At 1:07pm on 13 May, a significant milestone was reached when Brisbane passed one million nautical miles steamed. She conducted her final replenishment at sea from HMAS Success (II) on 19 May and Success' ship's company gave her a rousing cheer as the destroyer broke away. She returned to Sydney at the end of the month.

Brisbane departed Sydney for her final voyage, a circumnavigation of Australia and New Zealand, on 2 July. She visited Adelaide, Fremantle and Darwin where she participated in Exercise KAKADU at the end of July and beginning of August. She visited her namesake city for the final time on 17 August and embarked a number of VIPs for her passage up the Brisbane River. On her approach to the Gateway Bridge she exchanged a 19-gun salute with 1 Field Regiment (representing the City of Brisbane). With the RAN Band in support, the ship's company exercised its right to Freedom of Entry to the City of Brisbane on 18 August with a march through the city streets, concluding with a civic reception at City Hall.

She departed Brisbane on 22 August and arrived in Auckland three days later. Brisbane then went on to visit Dunedin at the end of the month, the final overseas port visit of her commission, before enjoying a brief cruise in Milford Sound on 4 September. The ship then crossed the Tasman for the final time before visiting Hobart and Melbourne where she arrived on 13 September. Unfortunately the tragic events of 11 September 2001, resulted in the cancellation of many of the events planned for Brisbane's last port visit before decommissioning, however, an official reception proceeded as planned on 14 September. She left Melbourne on 17 September arriving back in Sydney two days later.

HMAS Brisbane flying her decommissioning pennant.
HMAS Brisbane flying her decommissioning pennant.
ABCSO Amy Savelj awaits lines for shore party with HMAS Brisbane’s final trip into Garden island, Sydney.
ABCSO Amy Savelj awaits lines for shore party with HMAS Brisbane's final trip into Garden island, Sydney.

Brisbane was host ship for two visiting PLA-N ships Yichang and Taichang in early October, and she conducted a Youth Sea Day with 64 guests embarked on 8 October. Her final sea time was spent exercising in company with HMAS Melbourne (III) the following day before anchoring in Jervis Bay overnight. She steamed up the NSW coast on 10 October before making her final entry into Sydney later that day.

HMAS Brisbane decommissioned on 19 October 2001 in front of approximately 1700 guests marking the end of the DDG era in the RAN. More than 7000 officers and sailors served in Brisbane during her service life. Brisbane now lies as a dive wreck 4.2 miles off Point Cartwright on the Queensland coast and forms the centrepiece of the 'Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park'.

One of Brisbane's 5-inch gun mounts may be found on display outside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, positioned in front of her bridge and forward superstructure which forms part of the the post-1945 conflicts gallery.

A decommissioned HMAS Brisbane at the oil wharf alongside Fleet Base East. Note the ship's bridge has been completely removed and forms part of a display at the Australian War Memorial.
A decommissioned HMAS Brisbane at the oil wharf alongside Garden Island. Note the ship's bridge has been completely removed to form part of a display at the Australian War Memorial.
HMAS Brisbane (II) was scuttled 4.2 miles off Point Cartwright on the Queensland coast on 31 July 2005. (John Francis collection)
HMAS Brisbane (II) was scuttled 4.2 miles off Point Cartwright on the Queensland coast on 31 July 2005. (John Francis collection)
Commissioned by the HMAS Brisbane Association as part of the Australian War Memorial's Plaque Dedication Program, this plaque was dedicated on 19 October 2015 at a ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial. (AWM PL00234).
Commissioned by the HMAS Brisbane Association as part of the Australian War Memorial's Plaque Dedication Program, this plaque was dedicated on 19 October 2015 at a ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial. (AWM PL00234)
 
HMAS Brisbane (II)'s bridge and gun mount is on display at the Australian War Memorial.
HMAS Brisbane (II)'s bridge and gun mount is on display at the Australian War Memorial.

Commanding Officers of HMAS Brisbane (II)

 
16 Dec 1967 Captain AA Willis, RAN
19 Jan 1970 Captain JD Stevens, RAN
05 Jan 1971 Captain RG Loosli, RAN
18 Dec 1972
Captain PM Rees, RAN
01 Jan 1974
Captain MW Hudson, RAN
25 Aug 1975
Captain RW Burnett, RAN
23 Feb 1978 Lieutenant Commander RA Howland, RAN
28 Jul 1978 Lieutenant Commander T O'Sullivan, RAN
18 Jan 1979 Captain RM Baird, RAN
07 Nov 1980 Captain JS Dickson, RAN
13 Sep 1982 Commander EG Stubington, RAN
10 Jul 1984 Lieutenant Commander PL Elliott, RAN
03 Sep 1984 Captain KA Doolan, RAN
26 Aug 1985 Commander GF Smith, RAN
16 Dec 1986 Commander AP Smith, RAN
10 Jun 1987 Captain RAK Walls, AM, RAN
20 Dec 1988 Captain EG Stubington, AM, RAN
13 Jun 1989 Captain GA Morton, RAN
29 May 1990 Commander RC Moffitt, RAN
25 Jun 1990 Captain CA Ritchie, RAN
30 Oct 1991 Captain DJ Shackleton, RAN
18 Dec 1992 Commander AW Flint, CSC, RAN
04 Jan 1995 Commander MH De Vries, RAN
14 Jun 1996 Commander SJ Hart, RAN
05 Jan 1998 Commander PD Leschen, RAN
12 Aug 1999 Captain RC Moffitt, RAN
13 Dec 1999 Captain CW Darby, RAN

 

Middle East Region Deployments

Contributing to stable, rules-based global security is one of Australia's national objectives. Since 1990, the Royal Australian Navy has conducted maritime security operations in the Middle East region (MER), which remains strategically important to Australia's economic and trade interests.

Ship Rotation No Year Operation
HMAS Brisbane (II) 4 1990/1991 Operation DAMASK