HMAS Shepparton (I)
Bathurst Class
Australian Minesweeper
Melbourne Harbour Trust, Williamstown
Laid Down
14 November 1941
15 August 1942
Launched by
Lady Alice Goudie, wife of the Commissioner of Public Works, Victoria
1 February 1943
10 May 1946
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 650 tons
Length 186 feet 2 inches
Beam 31 feet
Speed 15 knots
Crew 81
Machinery Triple expansion, 2 shafts
Horsepower 1,800
  • 1 x 4-inch gun
  • 1 x Bofors (later)
  • Machine guns
Other Armament
  • 4 x Oerlikons (later 3)
  • Depth charge chutes and throwers
Battle Honours

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

Shepparton commissioned at Melbourne on 1 February 1943 under the command of Lieutenant Commander LN Morison RANR(S).

Following successful completion of her trials in home waters Shepparton proceeded to New Guinea at the end of April 1943 where she began operations as a Survey Ship. For the next seventeen months, except for occasional visits to Queensland ports, Shepparton was operational on survey duties in New Guinea and New Britain waters. This period of her service ended with a survey of Endeavour Strait and Scotts Reef.

Shepparton wearing her disruptive pattern camouflage paint scheme.

On 8 October 1944 Shepparton arrived at Darwin where she became attached to the Survey Task Unit operating in the area to begin a series of surveys in north west Australian waters. On 1 February 1945 she began refitting at Brisbane, returning to Darwin on 2 April to resume survey work between Cape Croker and New Year Island.

Left: Shepparton underway, seen from the bridge of HMAS Moresby, in the Timor Sea, circa 1944. Bother vessels were part of the survey group undertaking hydrographic survey of the approaches to Darwin through the Timor Sea in anticipation of the ships of the British Pacific Fleet using this passage to transit from the Indian Ocean. On the bridge of HMAS Moresby are Lieutenant Lewis A Jones RANVR (left) and Moresby's captain Commander Colin G Little OBE DSC MID. (AWM P02305.015). Right: Shepparton underway.

Left: A Japanese Harbour Master arriving on board Shepparton to hand over military charts and documents after the surrender of Japanese forces at Rabul on 8 September 1945. (AWM P12402.005). Right: Studio group portrait of brothers Alan, Bruce, Desmond and John Drummond in their Australian Naval uniforms. Sub Lieutenant Bruce Wiilliam Drummond enlisted on 10 October 1941 and discharged on 20 March 1946. He served on the corvettes HMAS Dubbo and HMAS Shepparton. Bruce was present on Shepparton at the time of the survey for bombs in Rabul Harbour at the end of the war. After the war, Bruce studied medicine and became a doctor in his local town of Toowoomba. (AWM P04351.001)

On 13 June 1945 Shepparton's work in the Darwin area ended and the next day she sailed for Thursday Island to resume operations in Torres Strait. On 2 September she sailed for Jacquinot Bay (New Britain) and thence to Rabaul where she spent ten days surveying in Simpson Harbour, returning to Jacquinot Bay on 17 September to take soundings of the anchorage. This work was completed in two days and Shepparton proceeded to the Solomons where she spent three weeks surveying the approaches to Torokina.

HMAS Shepparton was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers commissioned for service during World War II.
HMAS Shepparton was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers commissioned for service during World War II. She differed in appearance from many of her sister corvettes in that she had a 'monkey island' fixed above the bridge as can be seen here.

On 21 October 1945 she arrived at Brisbane, bringing her service outside home waters to a close. After some further survey work on the Australian coast, including six weeks operating in Moreton Bay, Shepparton's seagoing career ended early in February 1946. One of her last duties shortly before preparing to pay off was to assist in the refloating of her sister ship HMAS Cairns (I), which had grounded on Shark Spit, Moreton Island.

A salior, officer and senior salior on Shepparton.

Shepparton paid off into Reserve at Brisbane on 10 May 1946. During her war service she steamed some 62,000 miles.

On 4 November 1947 Shepparton's sister ship HMAS Deloraine (I) sailed from Brisbane for Sydney with Shepparton in tow. On 7 November the ships arrived at Sydney, where Shepparton remained in Reserve. On 20 February 1958 the ship was sold for scrap to Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha Ltd of Tokyo.

Further reading

  • 'The Corvettes: Forgotten Ships of the Royal Australian Navy' by Iris Nesdale - published by the Author, October, 1982.
  • 'Corvettes - Little Ships for Big Men' by Frank B Walker - published by Kingfisher Press, NSW, 1996.
  • 'The Australian Centenary History of Defence Volume III, The Royal Australian Navy' edited by David Stevens, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2001.