The Tingira Boys

John Perryman & ABCIS KG O'Connell



Launched in 1866 and named after General Gough’s 1846 victory in the Punjab, the Sobraon formed part of the Lowther, Maxton and Co shipping line. The original design provided for composite sail and steam propulsion, however, the latter was not incorporated and the ship was completed as a three masted clipper relying solely on sail. After carrying cargo and passengers between the United Kingdom and Australia for many years she was purchased by the New South Wales government in 1891. Moored off Cockatoo Island and under the control of the New South Wales State Welfare Department she was used as a reformatory Nautical School Ship for wayward boys until 1911.

In 1911 Sobraon was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for £15,000 and fitted out as a boy’s training ship at Mort’s Dock Balmain. The name chosen for her was an aboriginal word meaning ‘open sea’ and she commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Tingira on 25 April 1912. Tingira became a well known sight in Sydney Harbour at her permanent mooring in Rose Bay. There she was supported by shore facilities in Kent Hall on New South Head Road. Nearby Lyne Park was also used for the purpose of parade, rifle and field gun training. Tingira remained in commission until 30 June 1927, during which time 3158 boys aged between 14 and a half and 16 years passed through her.

The following images of Tingira boys were collected by the members of the Tingira Old Boys Association and donated to the Royal Australian Navy when the association layed up its colours. They are presented here to acknowledge and perpetuate the service of these pioneers of the Royal Australian Navy.

Remembering the Tingira boys