Originally published March 3, 2014.
An Indefatigable class battle cruiser, HMAS Australia, was commissioned June 21, 1913, and became the flagship of the Australian Navy.
Laid down on the 26th of June 1910 at John Brown and Company HMAS Australia was launched on October 25th 1911. Displacing a maximum 22, 130 long tons, She was 590 feet long with a beam of 80 feet. Her steam turbines produced 55, 000 shp and could propel Australia at a top speed just under 27 knots. She could travel 6,690 nautical miles at a speed of 10 knots. She carried a complement of 820 men
Australia was armed with 8 – 12-inch guns mounted in twin turrets (4 sets), 16 – 4-inch guns and 2 torpedo tubes located below the waterline. In 1915 and 1917 she was fitted with anti-aircraft guns. She was also used in the role of naval aviation, carrying two aircraft. There was 4 to 6 inches of armour around her Hull and between 4 to 10 inches on her conning tower.
HMAS Australia served in home waters and toured many Australian ports in her first year of service to ‘advertise’ the new Australian Navy to the widest possible audience. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Australia was to protect home waters but was given the freedom to search and engage any German warships. She pursued the Graf Spee and her crew were not happy that they did not get to engage any German battleships.
For the majority of the war, the Australia operated in the North Sea and served with the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron. This squadron was tasked with protecting the British Isles from German naval activity. The only time she fired her guns at the enemy while serving with this squadron was at a suspected enemy submarine on the 30th of December 1917.
At the end of the First World War, HMAS Australia was tasked with meeting, escorting and serving as guardship to the German fleet. On April 22, 1919 the Australia sailed for home waters and arrived at Fremantle on the 28th of May 1919. In 1920 she was used as a gunnery and torpedo training ship. In 1921 she was placed in reserve and as a result of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, she was scuttled.