HMAS Townsville (FCPB 205)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMAS Townsville.
US Navy DN-ST-90-08224 HMAS Townsville (FCPB 205) cropped.jpg
HMAS Townsville in 1990
Career (Australia)
Namesake: City of Townsville, Queensland
Builder: North Queensland Engineers and Agents
Laid down: 5 March 1979
Launched: 16 May 1981
Commissioned: 18 July 1981
Decommissioned: 11 May 2007
Homeport: HMAS Cairns
Motto: "Bold and Ready"
Honours and
Three inherited battle honours
Fate: Museum ship at Townsville Maritime Museum
General characteristics
Class & type: Fremantle class patrol boat
Displacement: 220 tons
Length: 137.6 ft (41.9 m)
Beam: 25.25 ft (7.70 m)
Draught: 5.75 ft (1.75 m)
Propulsion: 2 MTU series 538 diesel engines, 3,200 shp (2,400 kW), 2 propellers
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph)
Complement: 22
Armament: One general purpose 40/60 mm Bofors gun
Two 12.7 mm machine guns
One 81 mm mortar (removed later)

HMAS Townsville (FCPB 205), named for the city of Townsville, Queensland, was a Fremantle class patrol boat of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Design and construction[edit]

Starting in the late 1960s, planning began for a new class of patrol boat to replace the Attack class, with designs calling for improved seakeeping capability, and updated weapons and equipment.[1] The Fremantles had a full load displacement of 220 tonnes (220 long tons; 240 short tons), were 137.6 feet (41.9 m) long overall, had a beam of 24.25 feet (7.39 m), and a maximum draught of 5.75 feet (1.75 m).[2] Main propulsion machinery consisted of two MTU series 538 diesel engines, which supplied 3,200 shaft horsepower (2,400 kW) to the two propeller shafts.[2] Exhaust was not expelled through a funnel, like most ships, but through vents below the waterline.[3] The patrol boat could reach a maximum speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph), and had a maximum range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph).[2] The ship's company consisted of 22 personnel.[2] Each patrol boat was armed with a single 40 mm Bofors gun as main armament, supplemented by two .50 cal Browning machineguns and an 81-mm mortar,[2] although the mortar was removed from all ships sometime after 1988.[citation needed] The main weapon was originally to be two 30-mm guns on a twin-mount, but the reconditioned Bofors were selected to keep costs down; provision was made to install an updated weapon later in the class' service life, but this did not eventuate.[3][4]

Townsville was laid down by North Queensland Engineers and Agents at Cairns, Queensland on 5 March 1979.[5] She was launched on 16 May 1981, and commissioned into the RAN on 18 July 1981.[5]

Operational history[edit]

Townsville was used to depict the fictional HMAS Defiance in the second season of the ABC television series Patrol Boat.

Christmas 1981[edit]

HMAS Townsville's Christmas 1981 operation to detain, again, Foreign Fishing Vessel "Yuan Tsun". Commemorative T-shirt produced for the crew -- back.
T-shirt -- front.

HMAS Townsville was crash-sailed during its Christmas stand-down for 1981, to follow a foreign fishing vessel (Yuan Tsun) previously detained in Cairns harbour that had taken advantage of a perceived laxity by the Australian authorities for Christmas. Townsville chased and approached the FFV, and called on the captain and crew to stop. When it did not stop, the Commanding Officer (Lieutenant Commander Ian Watts; commissioning CO) called his headquarters and, after considerable delay, the Minister for Defence (James Killen) was contacted and gave permission to fire warning shots near the FFV. The crew then disowned the captain by moving to the bow. The captain of the FFV stopped the boat after some further warning shots. The FFV was boarded and then sailed to Cairns by members of Townsville's crew.[6]

Decommissioning and fate[edit]

In 2007, Townsville was marked for disposal. On 23 April, the Australian Government announced Townsville had been given to the Townsville Maritime Museum as a museum ship, along with funding to build a dry dock for display.[7] The patrol boat was decommissioned at Cairns, Queensland on 11 May 2007, in a joint ceremony with HMAS Ipswich.[8] The two patrol boats were the last of the class in active service.[8]

As of January 2012, Townsville is berthed at Ross Creek and is being maintained by volunteers while waiting for completion of the museum dry dock.[9][10] The vessel is fully operational (minus weaponry).[10] Construction of the dry dock is scheduled to begin in mid-2012, pending council approval of building plans and the securing of additional funding.[10]


  1. ^ Mitchell, Farewell to the Fremantle class, p. 105
  2. ^ a b c d e Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 89
  3. ^ a b Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 88
  4. ^ Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 222
  5. ^ a b "HMAS Townsville". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 11 September 2008. 
  6. ^ HMAS Townsville (1981 - 2007), Townsville Maritime Museum, accessed 29 March 2014
  7. ^ "Fed Govt hands over HMAS Townsville to museum". ABC. 23 April 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2007. 
  8. ^ a b "Last of the Fremantles bow out". The Navy (Navy League of Australia) 69 (3): 28. September 2007. 
  9. ^ Anderson, John (15 March 2011). "Low-key Dawn Service". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c Fernbach, Nathalie (9 January 2012). "Patrol boat plans". ABC North Queensland. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 


  • Gillett, Ross (1988). Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946. Brookvale, NSW: Child & Associates. ISBN 0-86777-219-0. OCLC 23470364. 
  • Jones, Peter (2001). "Towards Self Reliance". In Stevens, David. 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. 
  • Mitchell, Brett (2007). "Farewell to the Fremantle Class". In Forbes, Andrew & Lovi, Michelle. Australian Maritime Issues 2006. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs (19). Sea Power Centre - Australia. ISBN 0-642-29644-8. ISSN 1327-5658. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
    • The chapter is available separately as Semaphore, Issue 17, 2005 in PDF and HTML formats.