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The "S.S. Yandra" circa 1930.jpg
The S.S. Yandra circa 1930
Name: Yandra (1928–1959)
Namesake: Aboriginal: "All alike"
Owner: Coast Steamships Ltd, Adelaide
Builder: Burmeister & Wain, Copenhagen
Launched: 1928
Fate: Ran aground Neptune Islands 1959 and written off
Name: HMAS Yandra (1940–1946)
Acquired: June 1940
Commissioned: 22 September 1940
Decommissioned: 1946
Fate: Returned to owners
General characteristics
Type: Tug
Displacement: 990 tons
Length: 211.1 feet (64.3 m)[1]
Beam: 35.2 feet (10.7 m)
Draught: 11.9 feet (3.6 m)

Yandra was a 990-ton coastal steamer built by Burmeister and Wain, Copenhagen in 1928 for Coast Steamships Ltd for service in the Australian state of South Australia. She was requisitioned by the Royal Australia Navy in June 1940 during the Second World War for conversion to a minesweeper and anti-submarine vessel and was commissioned on 22 September 1940 as HMAS Yandra. She returned to civilian service in 1946. She ran aground during dense fog onto South Neptune Island on 25 January 1959 and was subsequently written off.

Service in South Australia[edit]

The Yandra was built for Coast Steamships Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Adelaide Steamship Company, by Burmeister and Wain, Copenhagen. She arrived in Port Adelaide from London on Tuesday, 23 October 1928 and commenced service in early November 1928.[2][3] She was specifically designed for serving regional ports on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula – a locality commonly known as the 'west coast' in South Australia. Her relatively shallow draft allowed access to ports at destinations such as Elliston and Venus Bay.[4]

Military Service[edit]

Photos by Capt. Geoff Rickards, 1st Officer Yandra 1956–1959'

The Yandra was requisitioned from Coast Steamships Ltd. on 27 June 1940. She was converted for anti-submarine warfare in Sydney and then commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy on 22 September 1940.[5]

HMAS Yandra challenged a ship off Rottnest Island, Western Australia on 5 October 1941 during the night and was given a false name Salland, from Calcutta. The ship never appeared in port as expected and caused naval intelligence some concern that this vessel could have been the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran, it was dismissed as a misreading of the morse code. HMAS Yandra picked up 72 German survivors of the Kormoran on 27 November 1941, while searching for HMAS Sydney.

Transferred to Sydney, HMAS Yandra was patrolling off the harbour boom gate on 31 May 1942, when a Japanese midget submarine (later identified as M-27) got entangled in the boom net. She later sighted a midget submarine (later identified as M-21) in the Harbour. HMAS Yandra and HMAS Sea Mist dropped depth charges over the site, with HMAS Yandra ramming the midget submarine on the bows. Unfortunately, both HMAS Yandra and HMAS Sea Mist were disabled by their own depth charges. After being repaired, HMAS Yandra patrolled on both the Australian east and west coasts, and New Guinea.

She was returned to her owner in 1946 and resumed service to 'west coast' ports on 20 July 1946.[6][7]


Yandra ran aground during dense fog on the northern island in the South Neptune Island group at the mouth of Spencer Gulf at about 10 pm on Saturday, 25 January 1959 about 400 metres (1300 ft) from the lighthouse located on the nearby southern island. The decision to abandon ship was advised by radio at 11.10 pm. The crew abandoned the ship using a breeches buoy and all 23 crew had safely evacuated to the northern island by 11.45 pm where they spent the night in the open. At dawn, the fog started to clear and the grounded ship was sighted by the lighthouse keepers who had been unaware of the grounding due to difficulties with radio transmission. The yacht Iline, a competitor in the annual Neptune Island yacht race conducted by the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron, answered a radio call at 3.30 am and proceeded to the wreck site where it assisted in ferrying to the crew to the lighthouse complex on the southern island. The tug Tusker was dispatched from Port Adelaide on 26 January 1959 to assess the damage. It was decided that Yandra could not be recovered and Tusker returned to Port Adelaide with the rescued crew.[8][9][10] The wreck is officially located at 35°33′00″S 136°12′00″E / 35.55000°S 136.20000°E / -35.55000; 136.20000 (M=HMAS Yandra).[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lloyd's Register 1942–43" (PDF). plimsollshipdata. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "New Motor Ship. For West Coast Service". The Register (Adelaide, SA). 25 October 1928. p. 5. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Another Motor Ship,". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA). 9 January 1929. p. 16. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Yandra And Gerard Arrive, Successful Tow from Kingston,". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA). 23 February 1946. p. 3. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "HMAS Yandra". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Yandra to resume coastal run". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA). 5 July 1946. p. 2. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Shipping: Busy Period Continues". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA). 17 July 1946. p. 3. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Hill, Margaret (2005). Corrugated castles : a migrant family's story (2nd ed.). Henley Beach SA: Seaview Press. pp. 135–139. ISBN 978-1-74008-337-9. 
  9. ^ "Coast Steamships". Flotilla Australia. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Christopher, P.; (1990), South Australian Shipwrecks: A Database (1802–1989), Society for Underwater Historical Research, North Adelaide, SA, pp 180 & 181. (ISBN 0 9588006 1 8)
  11. ^ 'View Shipwreck – Yandra,' at the Australian National Shipwreck Database, http://www.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/wreck/wreck.do?key=5906. Retrieved 30 June 2012.

Further information[edit]

The online collection of the State Library of South Australia includes images of the ship during its grounding such as the following:

External links[edit]