Built as torpedo-boat destroyer under yard No 469 by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd., Govan for the Royal Australian Navy.
17 March 1909 laid down.
09 February 1910 launched as the HMAS PARRAMATTA (55), named after the Parramatta River. She was one of the River Class torpedo-boat destroyer.
Displacement 750 ton standard, dim. 75 x 7.41 x 2.59m. (draught)
Powered by Parsons steam turbines, 10,000 shp, three shafts, speed 26 knots.
Range by a speed of 11.5 knots, 2,690 mile. Fuel oil.
Armament: 1 – BL 4 inch MK VII gun, 3 – 12 pdr. QF guns and 3 – 18 inch torpedo tubes.
Crew 66 – 73.
10 September 1910 commissioned.
HMAS PARRAMATTA, named for the Parramatta River, was a River-class torpedo-boat destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Ordered in 1909 for the Commonwealth Naval Forces (the predecessor of the RAN), PARRAMATTA was the first ship launched for the Australian navy. Temporarily commissioned into the Royal Navy for the delivery voyage to Australia, the destroyer came under Australian naval control in 1910, and on 1 March 1911 was recommissioned into the RAN, shortly before its founding.
From 1914 to 1917, PARRAMATTA was involved in wartime patrols in the Pacific and South East Asian regions, before she and her sister ships were transferred to the Mediterranean for anti-submarine operations. She returned to Australia in 1919, and was placed in reserve. Apart from a brief period of full commission during the visit of the Prince of Wales, PARRAMATTA remained in reserve commission until 1928. She was fully decommissioned in 1928, stripped of parts, and sold for use as prisoner accommodation on the Hawkesbury River. After changing hands several times, the hull ran aground during gale conditions in 1933, and was left to rust. In 1973, the bow and stern sections were salvaged, and converted into memorials.
Design and construction
PARRAMATTA had a displacement of 750 tons, a length overall of 246 feet (75 m), and a beam of 24 feet 3.75 inches (7.4105 m). The destroyer was powered by three Yarrow oil-burning boilers connected to Parsons turbines, which delivered 10,000 shaft horsepower to three propeller shafts. PARRAMATA’s cruising speed was 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph), giving the ship a range of 2,690 nautical miles (4,980 km; 3,100 mi). Her maximum speed as designed was 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph), but during sea trials, she was able to achieve 27.3 knots (50.6 km/h; 31.4 mph). The ship's company consisted of between 66 and 73 personnel, including five officers.
PARRAMATTA, along with sister ships YARRA and WARREGO, were ordered on 6 February 1909; the first ships to be ordered for the Commonwealth Naval Forces, the post-Federation amalgamation of the Australian colonial navies. The ship was laid down by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited, at their shipyard in Govan, Scotland on 17 March 1909. She was launched on 9 February 1910 by Margot Asquith, wife of British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith; the first new ship launched for the Australian navy. Construction was completed in August 1910, and the ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS PARRAMATTA for the voyage out to Australia. PARRAMATTA and sister ship sailed from Portsmouth on 19 September. Once the ships arrived in Broome, they were transferred to the control of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.
After entering Australian control, the two ships sailed to Melbourne for a gala welcome. During the celebrations, the ship's engineering officer fell overboard and drowned. On 1 March 1911, PARRAMATTA was recommissioned as His Majesty's Australian Ship, although the HMAS prefix was not officially approved until 10 July, when King George V granted permission for the Commonwealth Naval Forces to be renamed the Royal Australian Navy.
On 4 October 1913, PARRAMATTA took part in a formal fleet entry into Sydney Harbour welcoming the battlecruiser HMAS AUSTRALIA.
World War I
During the early stages of World War I, PARRAMATTA operated with the Australian fleet in the search for the German East Asia Squadron, then was involved in the capture of German colonies in the South Pacific region, including German New Guinea, and the consolidation of Allied occupation in these regions. On 5 February 1915, PARRAMATTA and sister ships YARRA and HMAS WARREGO sailed for Australia, where they were used for convoy escort duties along the continent's eastern coast until November. The ships were refitted at Sydney, then sent to patrol the region around Malaya, the East Indies, and the Philippines. PARRAMATTA returned to Australia on 17 July 1916, and patrolled home waters until 17 May 1917, when she and her sister ships were ordered to Malta.
On arrival, the six River-class ships were to undergo anti-submarine training, but were instead immediately deployed on convoy escort operations from Port Said to Malta. On 16 August, lookouts aboard PARRAMATTA spotted the wake from a periscope. The destroyer sped to the area of the sighting, and dropped a depth charge on a submarine travelling just below the surface. After completing the convoy run, the Australian warships completed the training, and were assigned to patrols of the Adriatic. For this, PARRAMATTA was fitted with an observation balloon. On 16 November 1917, PARRAMATTA and several sister ships came to assist the Italian transport ORIONE, who’s stern had been destroyed by a torpedo. PARRAMATTA towed the stricken ship towards the mainland, while WARREGO and SWAN recovered survivors and YARRA chased the attacking submarine. Apart from this, the patrols were uneventful, and on 28 September 1918, PARRAMATTA underwent refit in Greece before joining Allied forces at Constantinople. During October 1918, following the surrender of Turkish forces, PARRAMATTA accepted the surrender of a German admiral assigned to the area. The destroyer was then used for mail runs between Constantinople and Sebastopol until December, when she sailed to Devonport, arriving on 14 January 1919.
During her career, PARRAMATTA received no honours or awards for her activities during World War I. Following an overhaul of the RAN battle honours system, completed in March 2010, the ship's wartime service was retroactively recognised with the honours "Rabaul 1914" and "Adriatic 1917–18".
On 6 March 1919, PARRAMATTA sailed for home, in company with several other Australian ships. PARRAMATTA and YARRA ran out of fuel on 26 April, less than a day out from Darwin, and had to be towed into port by WARREGO. The destroyer paid off into reserve at Sydney on 22 July 1919. She was recommissioned for the period 17 May to 13 June 1920 for the visit of the Prince of Wales in HMS RENOW , then was returned to reserve. From October 1924 until November 1925, PARRAMATTA was based at Westernport, Victoria for use as a training ship, then spent time in Sydney, then Adelaide, before returning to Sydney in April 1928.
Decommissioning and fate
PARRAMATTA was paid off from service on 20 April 1928 and handed over to the Cockatoo Island Dockyard for dismantling on 17 October.
.PARRAMATTA and SWAN were stripped down, and their hulks were sold to NSW Penal Department and towed to Cowan Creek, where they were used to house prisoner labourers working on roads along the Hawkesbury River. The two hulks were then sold in 1933 for 12 pounds each to George Rhodes of Cowan, New South Wales, who intended to use them as accommodation for fishers. This was opposed, and the ships were sold on to a pair of fishermen, who used them to transport blue metal to Milson and Peat Islands.
On 2 February 1934, PARRAMATTA and SWAN were being towed down the Hawkesbury River for final breaking in Sydney, when gale conditions caused both hulls to break their tows; SWAN foundered and sank, while PARRAMATTA ran aground in mangroves...
In June 1795 news reached St Helena that the Dutch Revolutionary Party had joined France in the war against England.
Captain William Taylor Money was at St Helena at that time with the GENERAL GODDARD during his fifth voyage from India.
In haste he fitted his ship out for battle, to intercept a Dutch merchant fleet known to be nearing the island.
The GENERAL GODDARD got help from the HMS SCEPTRE a 3rd Rate 64 gun ship, and the packet SWALLOW.
18 May 1795 a Dutch fleet of 16 VOC ships sailed from the Cape, escorted by two warships the SCIPIO and KOMEET bound for the Netherlands. Due to bad weather and adverse winds, eight ships returned to the Table Bay where she arrived on 20 May. One day later the eight ships sailed out again, but had lost the contact with the convoy.
14 June 1795 were these 8 ships captured by the British ships off St Helena. (Not much is given in the Dutch books I have on the VOC about this loss)
The HMS SCEPTER under command of Captain Essington arrived at St Helena in May with a convoy of homebound ships, and she brought the news that armies of France had overran the Netherlands.
Then the packet SWALLOW arrived on 2 June from the Cape with the news that an important Dutch convoy was underway from the Cape to the Netherlands.
Capt Essington made a request to the Governor of St Helena that some of the East Indiamen of the company could be put under his orders, to assist them in the search and capturing of the Dutch convoy.
The MANSHIP, GENERAL GODDARD and the SWALLOW were put under his command, and some troops from the island embarked on this vessels.
03 June this small squadron sailed out and the search for the Dutch convoy began. Five other East Indiamen were prepared to join the squadron, the ASIA, LORD HAWKESBURY, ESSEX, AIRLY CASTLE and BUSBRIDGE. All available space on the island was loaded with the goods unladed from the ships, even the church was used.
The LORD HAWKESBURY, after sailing and in an attempt to weather the island, split her sails, and returned to St Helena. The ESSEX got also in problems when her fore-top-mast sprung. The BUSBRIDGE was the only ship what made contact with the squadron.
10 June one of the ships of the Dutch fleet the HOUGLY was seized and send to the roads of St Helena accompanied by the SWALLOW, after she delivered her at the roads the SWALLOW returned to the squadron with a number of additional seamen to reinforce the squadron.
The weather was not so good; a lot of gales and the MANSHIP and BUSBRIDGE lost the contact with the squadron.
On the afternoon of 14 June, seven sails were sighted on the weather bow, steering down before the wind.
GENERAL GODDARD sailed through the Dutch convoy on about 01.00 a.m. and was fired at, without returning fire.
The next morning at day-break, the Dutch fleet was still on the starboard bow of the HMS SCEPTRE and SWALLOW, and at 07.00 a.m. she displayed Dutch colours, whilst their commodore fired a gun to leeward. This was repeated by the SCEPTRE, and Capt. Essington supposed it would be followed by
‘heaving to’ of the Dutch ships, but the Dutch ships sailed on, three shots fired by the SCEPTRE ahead of the Dutch convoy did not give the result the British hoped for.
A signal was given to the GENERAL GODDARD to chase the Dutchmen to the SCEPTRE, when the GENERAL GODDARD instantaneously appeared under a cloud of canvas and was laid alongside the Dutch commodore ship ALBLASSERDAM who from her imposing appearance thought that she was a warship, and the ALBLASSERDAM followed Money’s directions to bear down.
The Dutch crews of the other ships fired several shots to the SCEPTRE and at the boats that were sent out with boarding parties. After the SCEPTRE did give a few broadsides the Dutch surrendered. At the same time the ASIA and BUSBRIDGE arrived and all seven Dutch vessels were boarded and taken as a prize, without the loss of any person.
All the ships came to anchor in the night of 17 June on the road of St Helena.
01 July the SCEPTRE with her prizes and British convoy sailed for England, the prizes arrived at Shannon, Ireland, where she were sold. The ZEELELIE (not visible on stamp) which had attempted to escape was wrecked off the Scilly Islands that year.
A painting, which depicts this battle, was made by the British artist Thomas Luny (1759 – 1837) for Captain Money of the GENERAL GODDARD (other source gives the painting was made for Robert Wigram the owner); the painting is now in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
After this painting the stamp is designed. Not the complete painting is shown but only the central portion of the painting.
The ZEELELIE and HMS SCEPTRE and the packet SWALLOW are not shown on the stamp.
The GENERAL GODDARD, in foreground of stamp, with the six remaining Dutch ships, which can be seen in the background of the stamp.
The VOC ships taken were used regular between Holland and the Far East after she were built, the URL gives a search engine for the VOC ships http://www.inghist.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/DAS/search for more information on the voyages.
The SURCHEANCE is not given, so most probably she was never used from Holland, or a hired vessel.
ALBLASSERDAM: Named after a town in the Netherlands. Built in 1782 on the yard of the VOC at Zeeland for the Chamber of the VOC at Amsterdam.
She sailed from Ceylon in 1795, with a cargo on board with a total value of 457.491 Dutch Guilder, under command of Capt. Klaas Keuken, with on board 165 persons, one died during the voyage and 11 disembark at the Cape.
MENTOR: Built on the VOC yard of Zeeland in 1789 for the Chamber of the VOC in Zeeland.
Tonnage 560 ton.
Sailed from Batavia on 22 November 1794, with a cargo on board with a total value of 61.361 Dutch Guilder. She was under command of Capt. Ulke Barendsz with on board 50 persons.
(I believe this MENTOR is also depict on the British Indian Ocean Territory stamp issued in 1999 60p sg 229, not any MENTOR is mentioned in Rowan Hackman book on the “Ships of the East India Company”. The year on the stamp is the same as when the MENTOR was built)
MEERMIN: (Mermaid). Built in 1782 at the VOC yard at Amsterdam for the Chamber of the VOC at Amsterdam.
Tonnage 500 ton.
Sailed in 1795 from Batavia under command of Capt. Gerard Ewoud Overbeek with on board 40 persons.
DORDWIJK: Built in 1787 in Rotterdam for the Chamber of the VOC of Delft/Rotterdam.
Tonnage 800 ton
22 November 1794 she sailed from Batavia under command of Capt. Hendrik Willem Ketjen with on board 40 persons.
Built in 1782 by Randall, Rotherhite for William Money.
30 January 1782 launched under the name GENERAL GODDARD.
She made her first voyage under command of Captain Thomas Foxall for the British East India Company to Bombay, she made three voyages more to India, before she was sold in 1790 to Robert Wigram.
Her next voyage to Bengal was under command of Capt. Thomas Wakefield, thereafter she made a voyage under command of Captain W.T.Money, and during this voyage she assisted HMS SCEPTRE in the capture of seven Dutch East Indiamen off St Helena.
Thereafter she made one more voyage under command of Captain Thomas Graham from 1796 till 1798 to the Coromandel Coast and Bengal.
1798 After her arrival back in England, sold as a West Indiamen for the trade to the West Indies.
January 1800 taken by a Spanish 1st Rate, 80 gun and a frigate, 32 guns off Cuba, while on a passage from London to Jamaica and taken to Havana.
Then she disappears in history.
Tonnage 799 tons, dim. 116.7 x 35.11 x 14.9ft.
VROUWE AGATHA: (Lady Agatha). Built ?, she was hired by the Chamber of the VOC of Amsterdam.
Tonnage 900 ton.
22 November 1794 she sailed from Batavia under command of Capt. Herman Pieter Murk, crew ?
On board was a cargo with a total value of 115.960 Dutch Guilders.
SURCHEANCE: Bought in 1786.
Tonnage 768 ton.
Sailed 22 November 1794 from Batavia under command of Capt. Christiaan Zummack, crew ?
Cargo on board with a total value of 81.527 Dutch Guilder.
1795 The SURCHEANCE was lost on her voyage between St Helena and the U.K.
Source: Van Compagnie naar Koopvaardij by Dr. E S van Eyck van Heslinga. Log Book Volume 14 page 234. http://www.bweaver.nom.sh/brooke/brooke_ch8.html Ships of the East India Company by Rowan Hackman.