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HMAS Diamantina

Vessel Number: HV000092
Date: 1944
Designer: Royal Navy
Previous Owner: Royal Australian Navy ,
Vessel Dimensions: 91.74 m x 10.97 m x 3.66 m, 2000 tonnes (301 ft x 36 ft x 12 ft, 2032 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Photograph
HMAS DIAMANTINA is a World War II frigate built in Queensland in 1943. It is the only surviving example of the River Class frigates that were built in Australia for service during World War II. The vessel has very strong connections to Queensland through its construction in Maryborough Queensland. HMAS DIAMANTINA is one of two vessels that received the official Japanese surrender at the end of World War II to remain extant.
DescriptionHMAS DIAMANTINA was built by Walkers Ltd in Maryborough Queensland. The keel was laid down on 4th April 1943; the hull was launched on the 6th of April 1944 and the completed vessel commissioned on the 27th of April in 1945. The primary role of the frigate was to be an anti-submarine and convoy escort vessel, and as the war drew to a close HMAS DIAMANTINA left Cairns in late June of 1945 for Bougainville Island off Papua New Guinea. It was soon involved in action off Sohona Island, using its big guns in bombardment on four separate occasions, and it is believed that HMAS DIAMANTINA fired the last salvo by an RAN vessel during World War II.

After the war ended on the 15th of August 1945, HMAS DIAMANTINA played a significant role as Allied forces accepted the surrender of the Japanese forces still occupying many islands in the Pacific. At Bougainville, HMAS DIAMANTINA embarked the senior Japanese Naval and Army Commanders at Moila Point and delivered them to Torokina where the surrender to General Savige was conducted on 8 September. Brigadier J.R. Stevenson then embarked at Torokina for passage to Nauru aboard HMAS DIAMANTINA where he accepted the surrender of Japanese forces to an Australian Commander on the frigate’s quarterdeck on 12 September. The ship returned to Torokina on the 19th September then departed again on the 22nd to Ocean Island with Brigadier Stevenson. On the 1st of October 1945 the final Japanese surrender of the Pacific War was accepted by Brigadier Stevenson aboard HMAS DIAMANTINA ‘as a representative of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain as territorial Authority in respect of Ocean Is’.

The frigate remained active for a relatively short period and was paid off to become a reserve vessel in August 1946. Thirteen years later HMAS DIAMANTINA was recommissioned as a Survey and Oceanographic Research vessel, under RAN command. Valuable work was done by the vessel's crew over many years assisting the CSIRO, and one of its significant discoveries in the Indian Ocean was the Diamantina Trench off Fremantle. A crew member from this period recalls serving on HMAS DIAMANTINA, saying it was a good ship. It was also his first ship in the RAN, and on his first day at sea he was sent below to 'bail out' a compartment that was filling with water, leaving him wondering just what he got into!

Another very brief but important role for the vessel was on the day when HMAS DIAMANTINA became the escort to the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA when it visited with the Queen's Royal tour to Australia in March 1963.

HMAS DIAMANTINA's naval career came to an end when it was paid off and laid up in Sydney on the 29th of February 1980. In September 1980 it was donated to the Queensland Maritime Museum and in October it steamed north to a new home in the South Brisbane Graving Dock. The vessel remains with the museum where it is being restored it to its wartime configuration, complete with original armament. HMAS DIAMANTINA is the largest extant WWII vessel in Australia. The only other surviving vessel world-wide to accept Japanese surrender is the battleship USS MISSOURI.

The frigate was built from a design prepared in Great Britain for their Royal Navy. The design was built in large numbers around the world during the war, and 8 were built in Australia. They were known world-wide as the River Class and in keeping with this all eight were named after major Australian rivers. HMAS DIAMANTINA was the sixth to be commissioned and one of three built by Walkers Ltd. The 91.74 m long hulls are powered by two, four cylinder triple-expansion steam engines of 2750 IHP each, with two water tube boilers. The principal armament was two 4 inch guns in turrets, 3 x 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns, and 10 x 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. It was also fitted with four depth charge throwers, two depth charge rails and Hedgehog, a forward-throwing anti-submarine mortar weapon.

HMAS DIAMANTINA was named after the Diamantina River in western Queensland, which received its name from Lady Diamantina Roma Bowen, the wife of the first Governor of Queensland, Sir George Ferguson Bowen.

(Prepared from research material supplied by Queensland Maritime Museum)

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:steel/iron
Current status:non-operational
Current status:outside
Deck layout:multiple decks
Deck material and construction:steel/iron
Hull material and construction:iron
Hull material and construction:steel
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:steam reciprocating
Related materials:film
Related materials:interviews
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Related materials:plans
Related materials:references
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Current status:museum vessel

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