HMAS Gunbar (I)
Auxiliary Minesweeper
Ardrossan, 1911
18 December 1940
3 December 1945
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 480 tons
Length 150 feet
Beam 30 feet
Draught 8 feet 7 inches
Speed 10 knots
Crew 4 officers and 23 ratings
  • 1 x 12 pounder 12 cwt QF
  • 1 (quad) .5 inch Vickers MG
Other Armament 2 depth charge chutes
Battle Honours

Gunbar was requisitioned for war service from the North Coast Steam Navigation Company of Sydney, on 30 September 1940 at a charter rate of £120 per month.

She commissioned on 18 December 1940 under the command of Temporary Lieutenant Norman M Muzzell, RANR(S), and commenced duty in waters off the south east coast of Australia.

In April 1941 Gunbar proceeded to Fremantle and operated on the west Australian coast until January 1942 when she was based in Darwin.

Gunbar was in Darwin Harbour during the first Japanese air raids on 19 February 1942. She was undertaking water carrier duties at the time and had just passed through the harbour boom gate entrance when the first attack began, and was thus singled out by attacking Japanese aircraft. She was strafed repeatedly and nine of her ships’ company were wounded including Lieutenant Muzzell. Gunbar managed to get alongside where five of her badly wounded personnel were put ashore for immediate treatment before Lieutenant Muzzell took the ship to the assistance of the badly damaged SS Portmar. Gunbar succeeded in evacuating Portmar’s crew and landed them ashore. One of Gunbar’s wounded personnel, Ordinary Seaman Herbert John Shepherd (a 19 year old timber worker from Western Australia) died from his wounds three days after the attack and, along with many others who died as a result of the air raid, was buried at sea.

Gunbar remained in the Darwin area until April 1943 when she proceeded to Sydney, paying off to maintenance reserve on 30 June 1943. Later she was converted to a Boom Gate Vessel at Port Kembla and recommissioned on 21 October 1943. For the remainder of her service she operated in the Sydney and Port Kembla area before paying off on 3 December 1945.

Early in 1946 she was purchased out right by the RAN and subsequently sold to AJ Ellerker and Co of Sydney on 25 July 1946.