AFLOAT Magazine October 2007 - Yesterday's Navy Part 2 by Graeme Andrews
Here and there around Australia one can find rusting hulks, often seen but usually ignored by the populace. Other old vessels are sometimes displayed ashore in heritage displays and a few, just a few indeed, are still at work more than half a century after they were taken up for service by the Navy or the Army. In Part 2, Graeme Andrews identifies some old ships of war that are ashore or are rusty hulks. 
  
Queensland
 
  There are two interesting old wrecks on the coast of Queensland that have a background as naval vessels. Both date from the 1880s. 
  Off Heron Island can be found the remains of the large gunboat Protector. Protector was built in Newcastle, UK, in 1883 for the state of South Australia. South Australia was generally considered to have a ‘one-ship’ navy.  
  Protector
was well-armed for her time and became the only Australian naval vessel ever to have a role in three wars. She steamed to China during the Boxer Rebellion. Later she became part of the new Commonwealth Naval Forces in 1901 and she worked as a patrol vessel in World War One. In WWII she was employed as a barge. 
AFLOAT Magazine October 2007 - Yesterday's Navy Part 2 by Graeme Andrews  Further south, at Redcliffe, on Moreton Bay is the hulk of the similar but smaller gunboat Gayundah. She was built in the UK for the Queensland Navy in 1884. She and a sister ship worked to guard the Queensland coast and carried out survey and rescue duties for many years. Both vessels became units of the new Commonwealth Naval force in 1901. 
  It’s many years since I’ve seen either of these old-timers and they may well be in worse condition than they are shown in my photographs.  
  
Victoria
 
  Off Black Rock in Port Phillip lies the hulk of one of the most technologically important naval vessels ever built. I refer to the breastwork monitor Cerberus
  This ship, ordered by the infant state of Victoria to protect the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, is the direct ancestor of all the great battleships that fought in World War One and Two.  
  During the last year or so the four great 250mm (10ins) muzzle-loading guns have been lifted off the hulk at they were at risk of falling through the rusting structure.  
  Cerberus
was built in the UK and entered service for Victoria in 1871. She was kept in use until the early 1920s and was then grounded as a breakwater off Black Rock. 
AFLOAT Magazine October 2007 - Yesterday's Navy Part 2 by Graeme Andrews  For more than 30 years various combinations of enthusiasts have talked of removing and displayed this fascinating old ship but little has happened and such talk is now merely academic. 
  This lack of result compares with the James Craig restoration in which a smaller vessel of similar age and in worse condition was retrieved from the wilds of Tasmania and recreated – at great effort and expense over the same period of time.  
  
South Australia
 
  South Australia has two old Services forces craft ashore and on display. About one kilometre from the water’s edge at Whyalla can be seen what has been called “Australia’s largest trailer boat”. 
  Fleet minesweeper (corvette) Whyalla was the first WWII warship built at the new shipyard at Whyalla. It was 1941 and the lightly-armed 650 tonner, one of 68 sisters to be built in Australia during the war, was urgently needed. 
AFLOAT Magazine October 2007 - Yesterday's Navy Part 2 by Graeme Andrews  Post war Whyalla worked for many years for the port authorities of Melbourne as SS Rip. After she was replaced, she was hauled out of the water and settled ashore as the centrepiece of Whyalla’s new local area museum. Alongside the highway she is unmistakeable and is a real traffic stopper.  
  Whyalla
is only partially authentic as she offers for display reminders of both her careers. Castlemaine at Williamstown, Victoria, offers an authentic view of what Whyalla actually looked like during WWII. 
  At the other end of Spencers Gulf is Port Lincoln. Here can be found the Axel Stenross boatyard and museum. Established on the road’s verge above the historic boatshed is the small wooden tug Nabilla.  
  Nabilla
is one of perhaps 100 45ft wooden tugs of US Army design that were built in Australia during and after WWII. Nabilla dates from 1944 and was in use by the SA Department of Harbours and Marine until she was retired late last century. She is displayed in the open so may not last for many more years. 
  The South Australian Maritime Museum operates the ex-Army Work Boat, Charles Baddenoch. This is a modified version of the Yambulla, mentioned below. 
AFLOAT Magazine October 2007 - Yesterday's Navy Part 2 by Graeme Andrews  The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney displays the similar vessel Bareki, built as a copy of the US type and there are many others of the original type still in use, often converted to tough-looking motor cruisers. The Nicholson and Stannard companies in Sydney used many of the type to modernise their lighterage operations soon after WWII.  
  
Western Australia
 
  Fremantle has probably the largest warship out of water although that title will probably go back to Brisbane’s Diamantina when she is once more settled on the dock block in a ‘dry’ dock. 
  Submarine Ovens, in RAN service from 1967 until 1999 is one of the Oberon class submarines which served Australia so well. She is a sister ship to Onslow, on display afloat, in Sydney.  
  Ovens
is on display at the old Fremantle patent slipway adjacent to the new West Australian Maritime Museum. The same museum maintains the WWII ex-Army 40ft workboat Yambulla in operational condition. Yambulla, ex- AM409, is of many Army Work Boats (AWB) that served the armed forces well from about 1944 until the present time. Few are left in Defence service but there are many that have been sold and converted into yachts, ferries, houseboats and sometimes very upmarket cruisers.  
AFLOAT Magazine October 2007 - Yesterday's Navy Part 2 by Graeme Andrews  
Northern Territory
 
AFLOAT Magazine October 2007 - Yesterday's Navy Part 2 by Graeme Andrews  I have been unable to confirm that the 1968-built naval patrol boat HMAS Ardent has actually been preserved ashore in Darwin. 
  If this is so it would be most appropriate as this class of small ships (sister ship is Advance) were a remarkably successful and a very lively(!) class in RAN service. Particularly useful were their patrol duties both in Bass Strait and to Australia’s north. I believe there is at least one in private service, possibly ex-HMAS Aware 

*Graeme Andrews’
book The Watermen of Sydney can be had from Boat Books, ABC books and all good book stores. Mail order enquiries may be made to Stannard Marine at 02 9418 3711.