Gippsland (I)

Auxiliary Minefield Tender
Peter Tierney, Paynesville, Victoria
18 September 1942
26 May 1944
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 133 tonnes gross
Length 113 feet
Beam 22 feet 9 inches
Draught 8 feet 9 inches
Speed 11 knots
Crew 14 officers and sailors
Machinery Single screw triple expansion steam engine
Guns 2 x .303 inch Vickers machine gun

The steam trawler SS Gippsland was built in 1908 by Peter Tierney at Paynesville, Victoria, for John Dahlsen, founder of hardware suppliers Dahlsens, as a tourist steamer to service Gippsland’s lakes and rivers. Capable of carrying up to 450 passengers, she operated primarily between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance. She was sold to ND Hegarty and Son in 1937 to serve as an excursion vessel on Sydney Harbour. The ship had become such fixture on Gippsland’s lakes that school children were given a half day holiday and about 700 people gathered on the shore at Lakes Entrance to farewell her. She was later sold to James Crouch Pty Ltd in 1938 to become a showboat on the Brisbane River, and then again to Red Funnel Trawlers Pty Ltd in 1941 and converted into a fish-carrier serving seine-net fishing boats off the New South Wales coast.

She was requisitioned for war service by the Royal Australian Navy on 24 June 1942 and purchased outright on 16 July 1943. She commissioned as HMAS Gippsland in Sydney on 18 September 1942 under the command of Sub Lieutenant Stanley Heriot, RANR(S), who remained in command throughout her commission.

She served her entire commission in the Sydney area, operating between Newcastle and Jervis Bay primarily as a minefield tender. She decommissioned on 26 May 1944 but continued in naval service as an uncommissioned vessel in Sydney until the end of 1945 when she was declared for disposal. She was sold at auction on 9 November 1946.

Commanding Officers


18 September 1942 SBLT/LEUT SL Heriot, RANR(S)