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The Forgotten Cruiser: HMAS Melbourne 1912-1928

January 1, 1970 @ 10:00 am

HMAS Melbourne (I) was Australia’s first light cruiser, launched at Birkenhead in 1912.  She arrived in Melbourne on 26 March 1913 and took the crest and motto of the City of Melbourne – ‘Gathers Strength as She Goes’.  Melbourne was in service until 1928 when she was returned to England to be scrapped. She had been put together hurriedly during the Anglo-German naval race and was worked hard during her years of service, seeing hundreds of thousands of miles of cruising in war and peace and innumerable refits during that time. During WWI Melbourne saw service in the islands in 1914 when she captured and destroyed the German radio station at Nauru, escorted the fleet of the 1st AIF to Colombo, joined the RN’s West Indies Squadron (based in Jamaica and Bermuda) bottling up German colliers and merchant ships in neutral ports from Brazil to New York as well as searched for German raiders. In July 1916 she was transferred to the North Sea where Melbourne joined the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron as part of the Grand Fleet and took part in sweeps, patrols and convoy escort duties until the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in 1918.
During the 1920s Melbourne served as flagship on several occasions and engaged in a wide range of cruises to the south-east and south west Pacific and New Zealand, during which time it was responsible, in a superb demonstration of seamanship and the courage of its crew, for the rescue of the crew of an American schooner at the height of a hurricane in January 1922.  Melbourne was described as a ‘forgotten cruiser’, in part because she lived under the shadow of her more famous sister-ship, HMAS Sydney (I).  But Melbourne gave sterling and steady service to the RAN and the nation. Its battle honours Rabaul 1914 and North Sea 1916-1918 hardly do justice to its work or the work of its crews over the period.  Ten officers and men who served on the Melbourne during WWI – from Australia, New Zealand, England and Scotland, paid the supreme sacrifice. Lest we Forget.

The new history of the Melbourne – The Forgotten Cruiser: HMAS Melbourne 1912-1928, by Andrew Kilsby and CDR Greg Swinden, will be launched on 26 March 2013 at the official opening of a major commemorative exhibition – Fear God and Honour the King: HMAS Melbourne 1912-1928 Рat the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in Melbourne, to commemorate the centenary of the arrival of HMAS Melbourne in Port Phillip in 1913.

Andrew Kilsby,  from MHHV member Cooee History and Heritage will present the talk Р The Forgotten Cruiser: HMAS Melbourne 1912-1928.

Contact MHSA- Vic for further details.

Click here


January 1, 1970
10:00 am

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