HMAS Gympie

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HMAS Gympie in November 1945. An awning has been fitted over the ship's bow.
HMAS Gympie in November 1945. An awning has been fitted over the ship's bow.
Namesake: City of Gympie, Queensland
Builder: Evans Deakin & Co
Laid down: 27 August 1941
Launched: 30 January 1942
Commissioned: 4 November 1942
Decommissioned: 23 May 1946
Honours and
Fate: Sold for scrap in 1961
General characteristics
Class and type: Bathurst-class corvette
Displacement: 650 tons (standard), 1,025 tons (full war load)
Length: 186 ft (57 m)
Beam: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Draught: 8.5 ft (2.6 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion engine, 2 shafts, 2,000 horsepower
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp
Complement: 85

HMAS Gympie (J238/M238), named for the city of Gympie, Queensland, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[1]

Design and construction[edit]

In 1938, the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board (ACNB) identified the need for a general purpose 'local defence vessel' capable of both anti-submarine and mine-warfare duties, while easy to construct and operate.[2][3] The vessel was initially envisaged as having a displacement of approximately 500 tons, a speed of at least 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), and a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi)[4] The opportunity to build a prototype in the place of a cancelled Bar-class boom defence vessel saw the proposed design increased to a 680-ton vessel, with a 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph) top speed, and a range of 2,850 nautical miles (5,280 km; 3,280 mi), armed with a 4-inch gun, equipped with asdic, and able to fitted with either depth charges or minesweeping equipment depending on the planned operations: although closer in size to a sloop than a local defence vessel, the resulting increased capabilities were accepted due to advantages over British-designed mine warfare and anti-submarine vessels.[2][5] Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained.[6] The need for locally built 'all-rounder' vessels at the start of World War II saw the "Australian Minesweepers" (designated as such to hide their anti-submarine capability, but popularly referred to as "corvettes") approved in September 1939, with 60 constructed during the course of the war: 36 (including Gympie) ordered by the RAN, 20 ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[2][7][8][9][1]

Gympie was laid down by Evans Deakin & Co at Brisbane, Queensland on 27 August 1941.[1] She was launched on 30 January 1942 by Mrs Deakin, wife of the managing director, and commissioned into the RAN in Brisbane on 4 November 1942.[1]

Operational history[edit]

From November 1942 to February 1944, Gympie escorted convoys off Australia's east coast.[1] While none of the convoys under her protection were attacked, she came to the aid of the torpedoed US ship Peter H. Burnett in January 1943.[1] Following a refit Gympie was deployed to New Guinean waters in February 1944, where she was used for escort and anti-submarine patrol duties.[1] She returned to Australia in February 1945 for a refit and was returned to New Guinea in July 1945.[1]

Following the end of World War II, Gympie participated in surrender ceremonies at Dili on 24 September and Kupang on 3 October, after which she performed survey work in the area.[1] In November, the corvette collided with the merchant vessel SS Tullahoma, and returned to Brisbane for minor repairs.[1]

The ship received two battle honours for her wartime service: "Pacific 1943–45" and "New Guinea 1943–44".[10][11]

Decommissioning and fate[edit]

Gympie was decommissioned into reserve in Brisbane on 23 May 1946. In early November 1947, she was towed to Sydney by sister ship Lithgow.[1]

Gympie was sold for scrapping on 6 January 1961 to Kinoshita (Australia) Pty Ltd.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "HMAS Gympie (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
  3. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
  4. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
  5. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
  6. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
  7. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
  8. ^ Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
  9. ^ Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 


  • Donohue, Hector (October 1996). From Empire Defence to the Long Haul: post-war defence policy and its impact on naval force structure planning 1945–1955. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 1. Canberra: Sea Power Centre. ISBN 0-642-25907-0. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 36817771. 
  • Stevens, David (2005). A Critical Vulnerability: the impact of the submarine threat on Australia's maritime defense 1915–1954. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 15. Canberra: Sea Power Centre Australia. ISBN 0-642-29625-1. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 62548623. 
  • Stevens, David; Sears, Jason; Goldrick, James; Cooper, Alastair; Jones, Peter; Spurling, Kathryn, (2001). Stevens, David, ed. The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554116-2. OCLC 50418095. 
Journal and news articles
  • Stevens, David (May 2010). "The Australian Corvettes" (PDF). Hindsight (Semaphore). Sea Power Centre – Australia. 2010 (05). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2010.