HMAS Kalgoorlie in Sydney Harbour during World War II
|Namesake:||City of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia|
|Builder:||Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd|
|Laid down:||27 July 1940|
|Launched:||7 August 1941|
|Commissioned:||7 April 1942|
|Decommissioned:||8 May 1946|
|Fate:||Transferred to RNN|
|Acquired:||8 May 1946|
|Commissioned:||8 May 1946|
|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|
|Speed:||15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp|
|Armament:||1 × 4-inch gun, 3 × Oerlikons, 1 × Bofors, Machine guns, Depth charges chutes and throwers|
HMAS Kalgoorlie (J192/B245/A119), named for the city of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II and one of 20 built for the Admiralty but manned by personnel of and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Design and construction
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. 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) 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. Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained. 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 ordered by the RAN, 20 (including Kalgoorlie) ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.
Kalgoorlie was laid down by Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd at Whyalla, South Australia on 27 July 1940. She was launched on 7 August 1941 by the wife of Thomas Playford IV, then Premier of South Australia, and was commissioned into the RAN on 7 April 1942.
After completing trials, Kalgoorlie was assigned as a convoy escort. Initially operating along the east coast of Sydney, the corvette was moved to Darwin in August 1942 and taken with convoys between Australia, Thursday Island, and Timor. On 25 September, Kalgoorlie and sister ship HMAS Warrnambool evacuated the ship's company of the destroyer HMAS Voyager, which had run aground at Betano Bay two days before. In early December, Kalgoorlie was involved in the search for survivors from sister ship HMAS Armidale, which had been sunk by Japanese aircraft on 1 December. Kalgoorlie eventually recovered 49 of the survivors.
In April 1943, the corvette returned to the east coast of Australia, still operating as a convoy escort. On 15 June, a thirteen-ship convoy heading for Brisbane and escorted by Kalgoorlie and sister ships HMAS Bundaberg, HMAS Cootamundra, HMAS Deloraine, and HMAS Warrnambool, was attacked off Smoky Cape. The United States Army Transport Portmar and the US Navy Landing ship LST-469 were torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-174: the former sinking in minutes with the loss of only two lives, while 26 were killed aboard the latter ship, which survived and was towed to port. Despite attempts to locate the submarine immediately after the attack, and a multiple-day search performed by Kalgoorlie, I-174 escaped unharmed. This was the last submarine attack to be made on the east coast of Australia during World War II.
Kalgoorlie spent the first half of 1944 as a convoy escort between Queensland and New Guinea, then joined sister ship HMAS Pirie in clearing the minefields laid by HMAS Bungaree throughout the Great Barrier Reef during the early part of the war. During August and September, the two corvettes located and destroyed almost 500 mines. Kalgoorlie spent the rest of the year on convoy escort duties, before joining the British Pacific Fleet at the end of 1944. The corvette operated with the Pacific Fleet until 15 July 1945, when she arrived in Brisbane for a refit. Kalgoorlie was still undergoing refit when the war ended. After the refit, the corvette operated in New Guinea and Australian waters until early May 1946.
|This section needs expansion with: information on the ship's Netherlands career, and eventual disposal. You can help by adding to it. (January 2011)|
- "HMAS Kalgoorlie (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
- Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
- Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
- Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
- Gill, George Hermon (1968). Royal Australian Navy, 1942–1945 (PDF). Australia in the War of 1939–1945, Series 2, Volume II. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. pp. 261–2. OCLC 65475. NLA registry number Aus 68-1798. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
- "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.
- "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). Retrieved 13 August 2010.
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