HMAS Brisbane History
Three ships and a naval base of the Royal Australian Navy have been named HMAS Brisbane after Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland.
* The first ship Brisbane, launched 1915, was a Town class light cruiser
* The second ship Brisbane (D41), launched 1966, was a Perth class guided missile destroyer. (The one we dive on.)
* The third ship Brisbane will be one of the new air warfare destroyers to enter service after 2013.
* HMAS Brisbane was a naval base between 1940-1942.
HMAS Brisbane (D 41), the Perth class guided missile destroyer, built in the United States of America and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1967. She served in the Vietnam War and during Operation Desert Storm (Operation Damask), was decommissioned in 2001, and was sunk as a dive wreck off the Queensland Sunshine Coast.
Construction of HMAS Brisbane
HMAS Brisbane was laid down by the Defoe Shipbuilding Company at Bay City, Michigan, USA, on 15 February 1965, launched on 5 May 1966, and commissioned on 16 December 1967.
She was christened by the wife of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, who delivered a message to the United States and to the builders at the shipyard thanking them for their efforts. Over 5,000 people witnessed the launching. While the ship was building, many crew members came to Bay City to train on the ship and prepare the ship for commissioning. Some brought along their wives and families with them. However, there was a housing shortage in the area at the time, so a call went out to local residents to assist in providing housing for these crewmen. Her nickname was the Steel Cat, although she was also known as the Blue Canoe or Fornicating Forty-One (references to her hull colour and pennant number respectively).
Operational History of HMAS Brisbane
Brisbane served as plane guard for carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Sea Dragon and Market Time operations, patrolled on search and rescue duties, and carried out Naval Gunfire Support missions during the conflict in Vietnam. She also escorted the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne when participating in NATO exercises in the Atlantic.
Brisbane was also notably one of two Australian warships that deployed in November 1990 to the Persian Gulf as a part of Operation Damask, the liberation of Kuwait. Brisbane underwent numerous modifications prior to her deployment; including the fitting of two Vulcan Phalanx Close-in weapon systems, the upgrading of technical communications systems, the installation of chaff launchers, the fitting of extra detection aids and the fitting of Radar Absorbent Material Panels. During this campaign Brisbane served in a number of roles, primarily, in the role of plane guard for the USS Midway Carrier Task Group, which operated in the Northern Persian Gulf. Brisbane deployed a number of Intelligence specialists as a part of her complement and members of the ship's company were trained to act as a Boarding Party for future likely boarding operations against commercial shipping involved in the movement of contraband. Brisbane also deployed three Clearance Divers to assist in the management of the sea mine threat and to lead boarding operations.
As a result of the professionalism of her crew in providing support to the Coalition Forces during this campaign, Brisbane was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation by the Australian Government. Two other Royal Australian Navy units received the same award for recognition of professional services conducted during this campaign; they were the Guided Missile Frigate HMAS Sydney and the RAN Clearance Diving Team (Kuwait).
Brisbane paid off on 19 October 2001, and was marked to be sunk as a dive wreck off the coast of Queensland. Her bridge was removed and preserved at the Australian War Museum in Canberra.
Sinking of HMAS Brisbane
Brisbane was sunk approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) off the coast of Mudjimba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia on Sunday, 31 July 2005 in 30 metres (115 ft) of water. Brisbane was filled with approximately 200 tonnes of concrete, and 38 small charges were detonated to breach the hull, the activation of which was performed by Queensland State Premier Peter Beattie. Brisbane sank in two and a half minutes. The top of her funnels can be seen lying just three metres below the water at low tide.
In 2006, it was announced that Brisbane's bridge and one of her 5-inch (127 mm) guns will be incorporated into new post-1945 galleries at the Australian War Memorial.