Armidale Class
International Callsign
Heed The Call
Home Port
Austal Ships, Fremantle
23 June 2007
8 December 2022
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement standard: 300 tonnes (295.3 (uk) t) (330.7 t (short)) (300,000 kg)
Length overall: 56.8 metres (186.35 feet)
Beam overall: 9.7 metres (31.82 feet)
Draught hull: 2.7 metres (8.86 feet)
Speed top speed: 25 kt (46.3 km/h) (28.8 mph)
Range standard: 3000 n miles (5556 km) (3452.3 miles) at 12 kt (22.2 km/h) (13.8 mph)
Crew crew: 21
Machinery 2 MTU 4000 16V diesels; 6,225 hp (4.64 MW); 2 shafts
  • One 25 mm Rafael M242 Bushmaster
  • Two 12.7mm machine guns
Electronic Countermeasures RESM: BAE Systems Prism III; intercept
Radars surface search/navigation: Bridgemaster E; E/F/I-band
Electro-optic Systems Rafael Toplite optronic director
Inherited Battle Honours
News Articles
Image Gallery
HMAS Wollongong (III) Badge

HMAS Wollongong was the tenth of fourteen Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPB) constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was built by Austal Ships at Henderson, Western Australia, as part of a $553 million contract between the Federal Government and Defence Maritime Services.

The Armidale class vessels continued the legacy of service established by the RAN’s former Attack and Fremantle Class Patrol boats. The larger, more capable ACPBs were characterised by good seakeeping qualities, improved range and endurance, as well as hosting a state-of-the-art surveillance system. They contributed significantly over two decades to myriad border protection and maritime security operations, both in Australian waters and throughout the south-west Pacific.


HMAS Wollongong (III) was commissioned in a ceremony conducted at Garden Island Sydney on Saturday 23 June 2007 under the command of Lieutenant Commander M.W. Taylor, RAN. The Australian White Ensign raised during the ceremony was previously flown in the boat’s namesake vessel, HMAS Wollongong (II). Among the guests present at the ceremony was then Chief of Navy VADM R.E. Shalders, AO, DSC, RAN, then Commander Australian Fleet RADM D.R. Thomas, AM, CSC, RAN, then Lord Mayor of Wollongong Alex Darling, AM, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells representing the Minister of Defence, and as Guest of Honour and ship’s sponsor, Mrs Kylie Heron, wife of former HMAS Wollongong (II) Commanding Officer, CMDR W.M. Heron, RAN.

Following the commissioning, Wollongong proceeded south to the boat’s namesake city for several days of functions, receptions and relationship building endeavours. These included a mayoral reception, the embarkation of students from the University of Wollongong, and a function hosted by the Wollongong RSL Bowling Club. During these engagements, the boat’s Commanding Officer stressed his dedication to endowing the boat with the character of the city, through the use of street signs, suburb names and other items on board. The boat was also presented with a framed, hand-drawn fairsheet of Wollongong Harbour by the Australian Hydrographic Office, which was hung in pride-of-place onboard. Wollongong was later opened to visitors, with over 2000 people taking the opportunity to tour the Navy’s newest patrol vessel.

HMAS Wollongong deploys her RHIB off the coast of Cairns during a Minor War Vessel Concentration Period.
HMAS Wollongong deploys her RHIB off the coast of Cairns during a Minor War Vessel Concentration Period.

Roles and Operations

Wollongong’s primary role was the execution of constabulary and surveillance operations in Australia’s northern waters. Wollongong was first assigned to Operation RESOLUTE, the Australian Defence Force operation to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests, just one month after commissioning. She diligently contributed in that capacity for over 15 years.

Throughout her commission, Wollongong conducted innumerable intercept, control and transport operations of both Foreign Fishing Vessels and Suspected Irregular Entry Vessels. On several occasions members of Wollongong’s ship’s company risked their own safety to rescue people at sea whose own vessels had sunk or were in distress. This was highlighted in April 2010, when the crew of Wollongong (Ardent Two) were responsible for lifesaving actions in the apprehension and rescue of members of a Suspected Irregular Entry Vessel. These actions were recognised with the award of a Chief of Joint Operations Group Commendation.

Wollongong also contributed to multi-national operations, participating in multiple Australia-Indonesia Cooperation Patrols (AUSINDOCORPAT) and Operation AUGURY, part of Australia’s efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremist organisations around the world, with Philippine naval units in 2018.

Wollongong regularly conducted joint operations with the 51st Battalion Far North Queensland Regiment, conducted patrols of oil and gas installations in northern Australian waters, and was used as a training platform for ADF members.

More recently, Wollongong was a contributor to operations focused on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, with the boat participating in Operation BANDORA and Operation OVERARCH, conducting enhanced patrols in response to the COVID 19 threat to the isolated communities of the Torres Strait.

Regional Engagement

Against the backdrop of her operational commitments, Wollongong has also been a regular participant in diplomatic, ceremonial and commemorative events. Wollongong was highly engaged with the community during her service, providing an RAN presence for Anzac Day commemorations in areas as diverse as Townsville, Trinity Beach, Darwin, Gladstone, Christmas Island, and Cairns, and participating in a Freedom of Entry March in her namesake city of Wollongong, New South Wales, in 2017 ans 2022.

Wollongong visited numerous ports in nations throughout Asia and the Pacific including Vanuatu, Manus Island, Alotau, Bali, Jakarta, Noumea, Kupang, Singapore, Dili, Port Moresby, Honiara and Rabaul. She also participated in the multi-national Exercise CROIX DU SUD held in the Southwest Pacific in 2008, as well as the Indonesian Fleet Review in Parigi Bay in 2015.

Wollongong took part in a number of fleet exercises in Australian waters, including Exercise TALISMAN SABRE in 2013, Exercise CASSOWARY with naval units from Indonesia in 2013, 2015 and 2016, and Exercise PARADISE in 2009 and 2016 with units of the Papua New Guinea Navy, designed to enhance interoperability between the two nations’ defence forces.

HMAS Wollongong in formation with Indonesian Naval vessels, KRI Samapri and KRI Layang, before entering Darwin Harbour on conclusion of Exercise Cassowary 2016.
HMAS Wollongong in formation with Indonesian Naval vessels, KRI Samapri and KRI Layang, before entering Darwin Harbour on conclusion of Exercise Cassowary 2016.

For many years the Armidale class patrol boats were crewed by RAN personnel drawn from multiple patrol boat crews, before reverting to a more conventional single crew arrangement on 24 August 2015. During that time, many hundreds of officers and sailors served in HMAS Wollongong developing a strong affiliation with the boat.

Personnel from HMAS Wollongong parade through the City of Wollongong during a Freedom of Entry march on 26 November 2022.
Personnel from HMAS Wollongong parade through the City of Wollongong during a Freedom of Entry march on 26 November 2022.

HMAS Wollongong (III) decommissioned on 8 Decemberr 2022 after more than 15 years of proud service to the nation.

Commanding Officers

During the multi-crewing era, HMAS Wollongong was, at various times, under the command of the following officers. (Rank and Post-nominals held at the time of command).

LCDR M.W Taylor, RAN
LCDR R.N Newbold, RAN
LCDR M.J Parsons, RAN
LCDR C. Brough, RAN
CMDR S.E Thompson, RAN
LCDR S.H Woodman, CSM, RAN
LCDR A. Sellick, RAN
LCDR M.J.D Miller, RAN
LCDR B. Reilly, RAN
LCDR M.J Strachan, RAN
LCDR J.A Edmonson, RAN
LCDR R.D Knights, RAN
LEUT R. Kelly, RAN
LCDR P.R Draper, RAN
LCDR M. Massie, RAN
CMDR S.D Waring, RAN
LCDR M.S Richardson, RAN

Multi-crewing was discontinued on 24 August 2015 when a more conventional single ship/ single crew arrangement was implemented.

24 August 2015 - LCDR T. Ryder, RAN
19 November 2015 - LCDR S.V Wilson RAN
5 December 2017 - LCDR A.G Norley, RAN
10 December 2019 - LCDR S.T Langmaid, RAN
31 May 2021 - LCDR S.T Dalton, RAN
26 June 2022 - LCDR J.M Evain, RAN
26 September 2022 - LCDR M.P Hams, RAN