HMAS Bungaree was a coal-burning cargo vessel acquired by the Australian Government in 1941 for conversion and commissioning as a minelayer that would operate in coastal areas around the north east of Australia. Her unique and somewhat obscure role in the RAN is partly described in a few Naval Historical Society publications, most notably in a 1980 monograph by her first Commanding Officer, CMDR Norman Calder OBE, who served in her from 1941-43.
Fascinated by this unusual ship and the way this capability was developed from scratch in the RAN, further research of the ship’s war diaries and accounts of former sailors who served onboard has identified more of the character of this ship and her ship’s company. In so doing, the parochial presenter highlights significant Victorian linkages and capability aspects that were developed locally to meet Bungaree’s operational roles. Hear why and how the ship laid various defensive minefields off the coast of Australia, PNG, New Caledonia and New Zealand, before later taking on re-supply tasks into New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies. We will cover some of the more memorable events and some perhaps less well known. We’ll end by noting that acquisition of a minelaying capability is once again being considered for Australia.
Andrew joined the Royal Australian Naval College in 1963 and served in a variety of exciting Seaman Officer command and management roles until he retired as a Captain in 2001. For the next 16 years he worked as the Director of Navy Infrastructure Plans in Navy Headquarters in Canberra. After settling in Melbourne in 2017, he took the opportunity to broaden his interest in naval history by joining the Naval Historical Society of Australia, and in early 2021 he became the President of the Victoria Chapter. He has helped articulate the naval community’s interests in preserving Osborne House (the site of the first RAN College in 1913-14) and the associated Maritime Museum Collection in Geelong and hopes to assist in rationalising the content and display of naval museum assets held in Victoria.
Date and Time: 11:00am. Wednesday, 17th. August 2022 (Sydney time)
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