Saturday, 5 May 2018

I have been to.... Australia

We recently went to Australia for my niece's wedding, and as we were there, took some time to travel around the country. I am sure my loyal blog readers aren't particularly interested in pictures of the Sydney Opera House or Great Barrier Reef, but I did see a few things of historical interest in Brisbane.

The Australian Army treated us to a flyby from a group of Blackhawks.

A German 77mm gun, now outside the Queensland parliament building.

The highlight though was visiting HMAS Diamantia in Queensland maritime museum. She is a River class frigate, commissioned in 1945 and fitted with state of the art (for 1945) radar and sonar.

The paint had faded a bit in the tropical sun, and it was a miserable wet day so I had the ship to myself. It was fantastic, just like being in the Cruel Sea.

Forward 4" gun.

Radar array.

Bofors gun in front of the bridge. The ship had quite a hefty complement of Oerlikens and Bofors.

ASDIC office. The radar, sonar and wireless offices were all jammed in behind the bridge and in the 30 degree heat, were stifling. I can't imagine what it was like to be on duty in them. 

Rear Bofors mount. There were a pair of these on the rear deck.

Depth charges, both rail and mortar deployed.. The ship was also fitted with Hedgehog on the foredeck but this was removed after the war.

The working parts for the 20mm AA in the armoury (I'd noticed the 20mm guns were missing the shooty bits when I was on deck!).

Rifle rack. No. 4, SMLE, Martini Henry and Jungle Carbine. Sadly the actions were all welded up.

Engine room.

Starboard turbines opened up.

Rather swanky showers. 

Rather less swanky loo.

Boiler. Sealed off due to asbestos risk.

Officers mess.

Warrant Officers bunks (fitted post war). Very like those in the Kelvedon Hatch nuclear bunker.

A small display on the Royal Marines.


Contrasted with bunks.

Highly recommended!

That is the closest I'll get to being on a WW2 small ship, and it was really very atmospheric. I could almost see poor old Commander Erickson on the bridge. So that means I've done a sub,  a 'destroyer', a cruiser and a carrier. I just need to find a complete WW2 battleship somewhere to complete my personal game of Battleships (there are several in the USA). I think handling various bits of blown up WW1 battlecruisers and dreadnoughts doesn't count. 

Oh OK then, a few holiday snaps.

Yes, there were snakes. I met this ones living pal when I was out running. A brown snake, evidently highly venomous and aggressive!

More hazards. Dangerous cliffs this time,

Very beautiful though.

And crocodiles. The saltwater ones like eating people.

Mmmm. Advice in Cairns was not to walk from the airport to the town. Because of the Crocs.

A Wombat. This is what they do most of the time.

Very cute (and not dangerous).


  1. Great stuff Martin. Thank you for sharing those.

  2. Have the Australian Army recognised your importance to the world then, organising a fly by for you?

    Was it not the Australian Air Force?


    1. I'd assumed they were Australian Army as our Apaches etc are mainly operated by the Army Air Corps. But who knows, it was nice to see three in formation.

  3. You know, I live in Brisbane and probably have seen the HMAS Diamantia from the freeway at least once a week for the last 30 years, and ridden past it occasionally...but never been. I do keep meaning to and will need to go and I can use the children as an excuse as well before they get to old (9 and 11 currently).

    1. I think I have an excuse to organise another work trip to Brisbane now as well :)

    2. I think when you live somewhere, for some reason the local attractions seem less accessible for some unfathomable reason. I lived in London for thirteen years and managed to fail to visit the Imperial War Museum, HMS Belfast and the RAF Museum the entire time.

      HMAS Diamantia was great, well worth adding to my 'warships of the world' collection.