HMAS Curlew

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Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Chediston
Builder: Montrose Shipyard, Scotland
Launched: 20 February 1953
Fate: Sold to Australia
Career (Australia)
Name: Curlew
Acquired: 1961
Commissioned: 21 August 1962
Decommissioned: 30 April 1990
Honours and
Battle honours:
Malaysia 1964-66
Fate: Sold on 17 June 1991
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class & type: Ton class minesweeper
Displacement: 440 tons
Length: 152 ft (46 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Propulsion: Originally Mirrlees diesel, later Napier Deltic, producing 3,000 shp (2,200 kW) on each of two shafts
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 33
Armament: 1 × Bofors 40 mm gun
1 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
1 × M2 Browning machine gun

HMAS Curlew (M 1121) was a Ton class minesweeper operated by the Royal Navy (as HMS Chediston) from 1953 to 1961, and the Royal Australian Navy from 1962 to 1991. During her Australian service, the ship operated off Malaysia during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation during the mid-1960s, then was modified for use as a minehunter. Delays in bringing a replacement class into service kept Curlew operational until 1990, and she was sold into civilian service in 1991.


The minesweeper was built by the Montrose Shipyard in Scotland, launched on 20 February 1953, and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Chediston.

Operational history[edit]

Royal Navy[edit]

Royal Australian Navy[edit]

The ship was one of six sold to the Royal Australian Navy for 5.5 million in 1961.[1] Chediston was modified for tropical conditions, and commissioned on 21 August 1962[citation needed] as HMAS Curlew.[1]

During the mid-1960s, Curlew was one of several ships operating in support of the Malaysian government during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation. This service was later recognised with the battle honour "Malaysia 1964-66".[2][3]

In the late 1960s, Curlew and sister ship Snipe were modified for use as minehunters.[4]

Decommissioning and fate[edit]

The delay in bringing the Bay class minehunters into service kept Curlew operational until 2001.[4] Curlew paid off on 30 April 1990 and was sold on 17 June 1991.[citation needed] The vessel was to operate as a salvage mothership, but was unable to be used as such because one of the main engines was unserviceable.[citation needed] Curlew was used in the films Paradise Road and The Thin Red Line.[citation needed] After several groundings on shallow mudbanks and a short salvage trip to a reef just off the coast of central Queensland, Curlew was sold to a new owner.[citation needed] As of mid-2003, the ship was operating out of Port Huon, Tasmania as a fishing vessel.[5]


  1. ^ a b Spurling, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 189
  2. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 222
  5. ^ Australian Sea Heritage, Old ships find a new life


  • Stevens, David, ed. (2001). The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555542-2. OCLC 50418095. 
    • Jones, Peter. "Towards Self Reliance". The Royal Australian Navy. 
    • Spurling, Kathryn. "The Era of Defence Reform". The Royal Australian Navy. 
Journal articles
  • "Old ships find a new life". Australian Sea Heritage (Australian Heritage Fleet) (75): 6. Winter 2003. ISSN 0813-0523.