Presentation to HMAS Encounter

While auditing our collection of paintings and photographs our volunteers found a painting of the HMAS Australia which was framed by planks from the actual ship. As this is naval history, at a recent AMOSA gathering, Wayne Birch (Curator) presented it to Commander Emma McDonald-Kerr (HMAS Encounter), to display in their headquarters.

HMAS Australia was one of three indefatigable-class battlecruisers built for the defence of the British Empire. Ordered by the Australian government in 1909, she was launched in 1911, and commissioned as flagship of the fledgling Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1913. Australia was the only capital ship ever to serve in the RAN.

At the start of World War I, Australia was tasked with finding and destroying the German East Asia Squadron, which was prompted to withdraw from the Pacific by the battlecruiser's presence. Repeated diversions to support the capture of German colonies well as an overcautious Admiralty, prevented the battlecruiser from engaging the German squadron before the latter's destruction. Australia was then assigned to North Sea operations which consisted primarily of patrols and exercises, until the end of the war.

Post-war budget cuts saw Australia's role downgraded to a training ship before she was placed in reserve in 1921. The disarmament  provisions of the Washington Naval Treaty required the destruction of Australia as part of the British Empire's commitment, and she was scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1924.