HMAS Stalwart (I)
Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne, England
Laid Down
1 April 1918
23 October 1918
Sold on 4 June 1937 and broken up
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 1075 tons
Length 276 feet
Beam 26 feet 9 inches
Draught 10 feet 10 inches
Speed 31 knots
Crew 90
Machinery Brown-Curtis geared turbines, 2 screws
Horsepower 27000 shp
  • 3 x 4-inch guns
  • 1 x 2-pounder pom-pom
  • 1 x Maxim machine gun
  • 4 x Lewis machine guns
Torpedoes 4 x 21-inch torpedo tubes in 2 twin deck mountings
Other Armament
  • 2 x depth-charge throwers
  • 4 x depth-charge chutes
HMAS Stalwart's ship's bell is now on display in the Naval Heritage Collection
HMAS Stalwart's ship's bell is now on display in the Naval Heritage Collection

Stalwart was one of 55 “S” class destroyers built for the British Admiralty under the Emergency Shipbuilding Program of World War I. She commissioned into the Royal Navy (RN) as HMS Stalwart in April 1919. She was not long in commission, however, when she and her sister ships, Success, Swordsman, Tasmania and Tattoo, along with the flotilla leader, Anzac, were gifted to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as replacements for the RAN’s obsolete River class destroyers.




HMAS Stalwart painting
HMAS Stalwart by Ian Hansen (Naval Heritage Collection)

She recommissioned into the RAN as HMAS Stalwart at Devonport on 27 January 1920 under the command of Lieutenant F.L. Cavaye, RN. She sailed for Australia on 26 February in company with Anzac though Anzac had to detach and return to Plymouth to replace a propeller blade. Stalwart arrived in Sydney on 29 April via Gibraltar, Malta, Port Said, Suez, Aden, Bombay, Colombo (where Anzac caught up to her), Singapore, Sourabaya and Thursday Island.

Stalwart undergoing speed trials
Stalwart undergoing speed trials

Post-war cuts to defence spending saw a number of RAN vessels decommissioned. Stalwart was the only one of the “S” class destroyers not to be temporarily decommissioned in the early 1920s. However, she was the first of the “S” class to decommission permanently on 1 December 1925. She made one visit to New Guinea in June-July 1924 and spent the rest of her sea-going career in Australian waters. She remained in reserve after decommissioning until she was eventually sold for breaking up on 4 June 1937.

HMAS Stalwart's ships company circa 1925.
HMAS Stalwart's ships company circa 1925.