Can readers help with book research? "Former Shore Establishments of the Royal Australian Navy"


Good morning,

my name is Graham Wilson, I am a military historian, researcher and writer living in Canberra.

Some time ago I started a project to draft an article on the history of former commissioned shore establishments of the RAN. In carrying out this research, I became clear to me that this subject is actually big enough for a book.

Having got a couple of other major projects out of the way, I have decided to see if I can bring this book to light. The working title of the book is Sunken Stone Frigates: Former Shore Establishments of the Royal Australian Navy.
I already have 7,000 words written, in the form of an article manuscript and now seek to expand this.

I am writing to you to see if it is possible for my project to be advised to your readership along with a request for information, especially in the form of personal anecdotes.
I would like to hear from anybody who served at any of the following establishments:

HMAS Assault 
Training facility, Port Stephens, New South Wales 1942 - 1945. 

HMAS Basilisk
Depot, Port Moresby, Territory of Papua 1942 - 1945.
Administration unit, RAN element in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 1974 - 1983.

HMAS Brisbane (originally HMAS Penguin II)
Depot Brisbane, Queensland 1940 - 1942.

HMAS Carpentaria
Base and administrative centre, Thursday Island, Queensland 1945 - 1946.
RAN Administrative Office UK, London, United Kingdom, 1966 - 1981.

HMAS Commonwealth
Administrative centre and support base, Kure, Japan 1948 - 1956.  

HMAS Derwent (originally HMAS Cerberus VI) Depot Hobart, Tasmania 1940 - 1942.

HMAS Encounter
Depot Port Adelaide, South Australia 1965 - 1994.  

HMAS Gilolo
Depot and support base, Morotai, Netherlands East Indies, 1945 -1946. 

HMAS Huon (originally HMAS Cerberus VI then HMAS Derwent)
Depot Hobart, Tasmania 1942 - 1994.  

HMAS Kuranda
Depot Cairns, Queensland 1944 - 1945.

HMAS Ladava
Depot, administration centre and logistic base, Milne Bay,
Territory of Papua, 1943 - 1945. 

HMAS Leeuwin (originally HMAS Cerberus V)
Depot and training facility, Fremantle, Western Australia 1940 - 1986. 

HMAS Lonsdale (originally HMAS Cerberus III)
Depot, Point Lonsdale, Victoria 1940 - 1992.

  • RAN Station 241 Extended Defence Officer, Queenscliff
  • RAN Station 242 Port War Signal Station, Point Lonsdale
  • RAN Station 243 Examination Service Organisation, Queenscliff
  • RAN Station 244 Harbour Patrol Boat Base, Queenscliff
  • RAN Station 245 Indicator Loop Control Hut, Port Franklin

HMAS Lusair
Depot Torokina, Bougainville, North Solomon Islands, Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea 1945

HMAS Madang
Depot, Madang, Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea 1944 - 1946.
HMAS Magnetic
Depot Townsville, Queensland 1942 - 1948.

  • RAN Station 21 Port War Signal Station, Magnetic Island
  • RAN Station 22 Port War Signal Station, Townsville
  • RAN Station 24 Harbour Signal Station, Townsville
  • RAN Wireless Station (Station ‘Y’), Townsville

HMAS Maitland (originally HMAS Penguin III)
Depot Newcastle, New South Wales 1940 - 1946. 
HMAS Melville (originally HMAS Penguin IV)
Depot Darwin, Northern Territory 1940 - 1975.

  • RAN Station 101 Port War Signal Station Port Darwin
  • RAN Station 102 Extended Defence Officer, Port Darwin

HMAS Mindari
Training facility, Woolloomooloo, New South Wales 1945 - 1948.  

HMAS Moreton (originally HMAS Penguin IV then HMAS Brisbane)
Depot Brisbane, Queensland 1942 - 1994.

  • RAN Station 1 Port War Signal Station, Caloundra
  • RAN Station 2 Controlled Mining Station Bribie Island
  • RAN Station 3 Controlled Mining Station, Cowan
  • RAN Station 4 Indicator Loop & Harbour Defence Asdic Station, Bribie Island
  • RAN Station 5 Combined Training Centre (Naval Wing), Toorbul
  • RAN Station 6 Fairmile Advanced Operating Base, Bribie Island
  • RAN Station 7 Comboyuro Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island
  • RAN Station 8 Boom Defence Facility near Lytton, Brisbane
  • RAN Station 9 Indicator Loop Station Pinkenba (at Myrtletown), Brisbane
  • RAN Station 10 Controlled Mining Base near Pinkenba

HMAS Nirimba
Naval Air Station, 1953 - 1955, Quakers Hill, New South Wales.
Technical training facility, 1956 - 1994, Quakers Hill, New South Wales. 

HMAS Rushcutter (originally HMAS Penguin II)
Depot Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales 1950 - 1979.

HMAS Seeadler
Depot, Los Negros Island, Manus District, Territory of Papua and New Guinea 1950. 

HMAS Tarangau
Depot Dreger Harbour, Morobe District, Territory of Papua and New Guinea, 1946 - 1950.
Depot, and patrol boat base, Los Negros Island, Manus District, Territory of Papua and New Guinea, 1950 - 1975. 

HMAS Torrens (originally Birkenhead Naval Depot then HMAS Cerberus IV)
Depot Port Adelaide, South Australia 1940 – 1964.

  • RAN Station 181 Port War Signal Station, Outer Harbour, Adelaide
  • RAN Station 182 War Signal Station, Neptune Island

HMAS Waratah Administrative centre Washington DC, United States of America 1966 – 1980.

I would also love to get access to any photographs or memorabilia (Anzac Day programs, mess dinner programs and menus, Christmas cards, commemorative booklets, etc) that people have in their possession.

I can be contacted via e-mail at: duty_first@hotmail.com

or by post at:

PO box 6021
Lanyon LPO

I hope that you will be able to assist me and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours sincerely, 
Graham Wilson

I will ask my web master in Atlanta Georgia to post your request on my Ahoy web site and trust it draws some response for you.

I have one personal item from Moreton dating back to December 1944, which may appeal to you.

It is a Southwest Pacific Area Air Travel Authority. 

I had just been appointed as a Lieutenant RAN to HMAS Shropshire and was trying to join her.

I had flogged from Perth to Brisbane by train, and it was thought that my cruiser was in the Manus area.

The only link from Brisbane to Manus was by air and the Americans were the only ones flying there.

I had twice been out to Eagle Farm at 0215 in the middle of the night, to try and get accepted on a DC3 to fly to the Admiralty Islands, no priority, so the Americans just brushed me aside.

I went back to Moreton to request that the Officer in charge there might give me some documentation that might be acceptable, the result was this request.

Mac's 1944 Travel Document

The reason used was: "Required to join HM ship by 6th. December. Delay of 24 hours will seriously hazard the war effort". 

On presenting this document on my third visit to Eagle Farm, the American gasped My God! And asked "what do you do?"

I merely smiled and responded " I am afraid its too secret to tell you."

I was ushered aboard a DC3, no seats, just cargo and mail bags, I sat on the floor and off we went.

On arrival at Manus it was pouring with rain, I asked where is HMAS Shropshire?  Never heard of it Bub was my answer.

It rained for two days and I sat and waited, finally the tropical rain stopped, and there was my ship at anchor but two hundred yards away.

Best regards,

back to letters index


This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness. All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright© 1984/2014 Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved