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Twenty Attack class patrol boats were constructed for the Royal Australian Navy by Queensland ship builders Evans, Deakin & Company Ltd and Walkers Ltd. HMAS ADVANCE represents a type of vessel engaged in one of the peacetime roles of the RAN in patrol and related duties around the coastline. Its existence also demonstrated the willingness of the RAN in maintaining surveillance and control over the Australian coastline, particularly the northern approaches, from incursions by illegal immigrants and foreign fishing activities within Australian territorial waters. It also represents a class of vessel, five of which were re-fitted and crews trained before handover to establish the naval component of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

ADVANCE was used in the ABC television series 'Patrol Boat' in 1979. This was the first local attempt at a contemporary television adventure series centred on an arm of the defence forces and aimed at a general audience.

The construction of ADVANCE and other class members in Maryborough and the balance of the class in Brisbane represents the dispersed nature of shipbuilding minority communities and traditions in Queensland and the highly developed state of same in the late 1960s with the port of Maryborough being in decline at this time.

ADVANCE is the first complete warship to be accessioned by a Commonwealth cultural institution and the first to be maintained in an operational condition by the National Maritime Museum.

The foreign origins of much of the equipment on board neatly capture the various influences which have had an impact upon the development of the RAN. This feature is clearly seen in machinery selection: the main propulsion engines are British and the auxiliary generators American.

Prior to decommissioning Advance was based at HMAS WATERHEN at Waverton, Sydney and used as the training boat for the Sydney Port Division of the RANR. As such it is significant as an example of the level of resourcing and the nature of training given to the members of the Reserves during this period. The RANR used the boat for weekend patrols, training in navigation and seamanship and as support to divers as required.

HMAS ADVANCE represents the diverse peacetime work of the Royal Australian Navy:
Patrol, board and search operations of Australian fishing grounds
Coastal and offshore surveillance for illegal immigrants and smugglers
Protection of offshore oil rigs
Inshore survey work
Air-sea search and rescue
Target towing
Transporting patients from remote locations
Naval Reserve training

It also represents the training and routine exercises undertaken by patrol boat personnel including
Action stations
Leaving ship stations
Boarding party exercises
Landing party exercises
Small arms shoot
Blind pilotage team drill
Helo winching
Man overboard drills
NBCD exercises
Self maintenance

HMAS ADVANCE at a glance

Length: 32.76 m (107.5 ft)
Beam: 6.2 m
Draught: 1.9 m
Displacement: 148.3 tonnes

Power: Two Paxman 'Ventura' YJCM turbo-charged 16-cylinder, 4-cycle airless injection diesel engines producing over 2,611 kW; twin fixed pitch 3-bladed screws.
Max continuous rating 1,500 bhp @ 1,250 rpm
Four-hour rating 1,730 bhp @ 1,350 rpm
Engine number portside - 58 684/75
Engine number starboard - 58 804/15
Bore 7.75"
Stroke 8.5"
Compression ratio 13:1
Injection pressure 3,100 psi
Cooling temperature 160-180°F
LO pressure 55-65 psi
LO temperature 170-190°F
Turbo boost 11 psi

Engine gearboxes: Zahnradfabrik BW 1200 H22 (H = hydraulically operated; 22 = gear ratio 2.2:1)

Fuel tanks: Six main tanks; two ferrying tanks; 22.50 tons capacity

Fresh water: Four main tanks; 7.29 tons capacity

Generators: Two x 50 KVA diesel driven; One x 24 volt/900 watt auxiliary generator attached to each main engine

Sea water system: Supply to showers, forward magazine spraying, galley air conditioning heat exchangers

Cold fresh water service: Supply to basins, showers, galley and water heaters

Hot fresh water system: One supply to forward and amidships; one to after accommodation

Steering gear: operated from either the bridge wheelhouse or in an emergency from the bosun's store aft

Galley: all electric - single oven range, four hot plates, one grill; refrigerator; hot cupboard; hot water urn; portable mixer/mincer; deep freeze storage unit; both mess spaces and wardroom fitted with small refrigerator for ready use

Speed: 24 knots; cruising speed of 15 knots for 1,500 nm

Complement: 19 (3 officers, 16 sailors)

Built: Walkers Ltd, Maryborough, Queensland

Launched: 16 August 1967 by Mrs Frank George, wife of Rear Admiral Frank Leveson George

Commissioned: 24 January 1968

Decommissioned: 6 February 1988 (at HMAS WATERHEN)

Deed of Memorandum between Department of Defence and ANMM signed 17 May 1988.

Armament : One x 40 mm single Mark 7 Bofors gun mounted forward; Two x 0.5-inch Browning machine guns: Rifles and hand guns; One x 2-inch rocket flare launcher

Motto: Never Look Back