Adele (ex-HMAS Franklin)

HMAS Adele
Steam Yacht
Examination Vessel
Hawthorne and Co, Leith Scotland
24 October 1939
7 May 1943
Wrecked 7 May 1943
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 350 tons
Length 145 feet (44.19m)
Beam 22 feet 4 inches (6.8m)
Draught 9 feet 10 inches (2.99m)
Speed 12 knots
Machinery Single screw, triple expansion steam engine
Horsepower 68 nhp

The steam yacht Adele was built by Hawthorne and Co of Leith Scotland, in 1906 and was employed in private ownership until 31 May 1915 when she was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for £10,750 from the estate of Henry Dutton of Kapunda, South Australia. She was subsequently commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as HMAS Franklin, named in honour of Sir John Franklin, naval officer, explorer and one time Governor of Tasmania.

An early photograph of Adele when serving as HMAS Franklin.
An early photograph of Adele when serving as HMAS Franklin.

After serving as a tender to the RAN College, Jervis Bay, Franklin was sold out of service on 18 September 1922. In June 1924 she was transferred to the Administration of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea where she was subsequently employed as a Government yacht until 1932 when, for reasons of economy, she was laid up at Rabaul (New Britain). Franklin was then sold on 7 December 1932 to Mr WL Buckland of Melbourne for £826, who refitted her as a private yacht for ocean cruising. Later she was on-sold to Mr CH Relph of Sydney and was for some years was moored in Rose Bay, Port Jackson.

At the outbreak of World War II the vessel was again requisitioned by the RAN and commissioned as the examination vessel HMAS Adele on 24 October 1939, under the command of Temporary Lieutenant Philip J Sullivan, RANR(S). In that capacity she saw service in Darwin during late 1939 before being relocated to Sydney in mid-1942. On the night of 8 June 1942 Adele sighted gunfire flashes south east of Port Jackson which turned out to be the Japanese submarine I-24 shelling Sydney.

Adele as she appeared as a private yacht, circa 1939.
Adele as she appeared as a private yacht, circa 1939.

On the evening of 7 May 1943 Adele was performing duties as a stores carrier when she was wrecked on a breakwater off Port Kembla, Wollongong, NSW and became a total loss.