HMAS Toowoomba (J157)

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HMAS Toowoomba during sea trials in 1941
HMAS Toowoomba during sea trials in 1941
Namesake: City of Toowoomba, Queensland
Builder: Walkers Limited in Maryborough, Queensland
Laid down: 6 August 1940
Launched: 26 March 1941
Commissioned: 9 October 1941
Decommissioned: 5 July 1946
Motto: "Fearless"
Honours and
Fate: Transferred to RNN
Name: Boeroe
Commissioned: 5 July 1946
Out of service: 1958
Fate: Removed from service
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
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp
Complement: 85

HMAS Toowoomba (J157/B251/A125), named for the city of Toowoomba, Queensland was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II and one of 20 built on Admiralty order but manned by personnel of and later commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[1] The ship later served in the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN) as HNLMS Boeroe.[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 ordered by the RAN, 20 (including Toowoomba) ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[2][7][8][9][1]

Toowoomba was laid down by Walkers Limited at Maryborough, Queensland on 6 August 1940.[1] She launched on 26 March 1941, in a ceremony presided over by Mrs. C. W. Lowther, the wife of a long serving employee of the shipyard.[1] Toowoomba was commissioned on 9 October 1941.[1]

Operational history[edit]


Toowoomba entered operational service immediately on commissioning.[1] She was initially based in Sydney, and was tasked with convoy escort duties along the east coast of Australia until January 1942, when Toowoomba and two sister ships were ordered to Batavia.[1] Toowoomba was in constant action over the next two months, and on 14 February was one of the last ships to enter Singapore Harbour before it was captured by the Japanese.[1]

Retreating to Fremantle, Western Australia after the capture of Singapore, Toowoomba was repaired and recommenced convoy escort duties, this time on the west coast of Australia and with a new captain and crew, until assignment to the British Eastern Fleet on 23 November 1942.[1] During this time, she was involved in escort and patrol duties across the Indian Ocean, reaching as far west as the Persian Gulf.[1] On 22 November 1944, Toowoomba was assigned to the newly created British Pacific Fleet, and operated with the fleet until returning to Fremantle on 3 December 1944 for refit.[1] The refit was completed in March 1945, and Toowoomba was assigned to escort and patrol duties between Australia and New Guinea until the end of hostilities.[1]

Following the end of World War II, Toowoomba spent time in Hong Kong, performing minesweeping and hydrological survey duties.[1] She returned to Australia in December 1945.[1]

The corvette earned two battle honours for her wartime service, "Pacific 1942" and "Indian Ocean 1942–44".[10][11]


On 5 July 1946, Toowoomba decommissioned from RAN service and immediately commissioned into the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN).[1] Renamed HNLMS Boeroe, she served with the RNLN until 1958.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "HMAS Toowoomba (I)". Sea Power Centre Australia. Retrieved 15 September 2008. [permanent dead link]
  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.