HMAS Wallaroo

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HMAS Wallaroo.jpg
Starboard side view of HMAS Wallaroo. She is painted in a two-tone grey camouflage.
Namesake: Town of Wallaroo, South Australia
Builder: Poole & Steel, Sydney
Laid down: 24 April 1941
Launched: 18 February 1942
Commissioned: 15 July 1942
Motto: "With Might And Main"
Honours and
Fate: Lost following collision on 11 June 1943
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 Wallaroo (J222), named after the town of Wallaroo, South Australia, 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] Wallaroo was one of only three Bathursts lost during World War II; following a collision with US Liberty ship Henry Gilbert Costin on the night of 11 June 1943.[1][2]

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.[3][4] 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)[5] 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.[3][6] Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained.[7] 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 Wallaroo) ordered by the RAN, 20 ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[3][8][9][10][1]

Wallaroo was laid down by Poole & Steel in Sydney on 24 April 1941.[1] She was launched on 18 February 1942 by Mrs Poole, wife of the shipyard's Chairman of Directors, and commissioned on 15 July 1942.[1]

Operational history[edit]

Wallaroo entered service in September 1942, patrolling between Adelaide in South Australia and Fremantle in Western Australia for submarines, as well as performing escort and minesweeping duties around Fremantle.[1]

Just after midnight on 11 June 1943, while out to sea west of Fremantle, the corvette collided with United States Liberty Ship Henry Gilbert Costin.[1] The night was overcast, and the ships were travelling without lights as a precaution against attacks.[1] Three of Wallaroo's crew were killed in the collision, and the corvette sank four hours later with no further casualties while trying to reach Fremantle.[1] The Liberty Ship received minor damage, and made it to port.[1]

The corvette's wartime service was recognised with the battle honour "Pacific 1942".[11][12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "HMAS Wallaroo (I)". Sea Power Centre Australia. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  2. ^ David Stevens et al., 2001, The Royal Australian Navy, opposite pg 112
  3. ^ a b c Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
  4. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
  5. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
  6. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
  7. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
  8. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
  9. ^ Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
  10. ^ Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "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. 

Coordinates: 31°54′24″S 114°37′31″E / 31.90667°S 114.62528°E / -31.90667; 114.62528