HMAS Australia (1911)

Australia leads the Second Battlecruiser Squadron under the Forth Bridge in Scotland, c.1915-18. Photo in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.

Nation
Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down
1910
Launched
1911
Commissioned
1913
Decommissioned
1921
AD/BC
AD
History

HMAS Australia was an Indefatigable-class battlecruiser, and the only ship of her type ever owned by the RAN. Ordered by Australia in 1909, Australia was laid down in 1910, and commissioned 21 June, 1913. Australia opened her WWI career on a search and destroy hunt for the German East Asia Squadron, which was intimidated into leaving the region by her presence. She participated in several raids on German territory in the Pacific, and was sent to the North Sea to operate with the Grand Fleet in 1915. Despite serving as the flagship of the Second Battlecruiser Squadron for the duration of the War, Australia missed the Battle of Jutland while under repair, and saw no action. She spent the rest of the war conducting patrols in the North Sea. Australia returned to Australia post-war, and had a minor mutiny on 1 June, 1919, when sailors were asking for an extra day in port during her welcome home tour. Australia was decommissioned and placed in reserve soon after, and was ordered scuttled by the Washington Treaty. Despite the Australians not being signatories, Australia was treated as part of the British battlecruiser fleet as part of the treaty. However, as she was on the short list for disposal anyway, the Australians went ahead and scuttled her on 12 April, 1924. Her wreck was located in 1990, and confirmed in 2007, in 390m (1,280 feet) of water.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: To confirm the identity of Australia's wreck, the RAN used a deep sea remotely operated vehicle that they had borrowed from the US Navy to look for a helicopter that had crashed.