HMAS Kookaburra
Modified Net Class
Boom Defence Vessel
Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co Ltd, Sydney
Laid Down
4 April 1938
29 October 1938
28 February 1939
3 December 1958
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 533 tons
Length 135 feet
Beam 26 feet 6 inches
Draught 10 feet 3 inches
Speed 9.5 knots
Crew 32
Machinery Triple Expansion
  • 1 x 3 inch HA/LA gun
  • 2 x .303 inch Maxim MG
Battle Honours DARWIN 1942-43

HMAS Kookaburra commissioned on 28 February 1939 and was initially employed as a training tender to the Anti-submarine School at Sydney and performing boom defence duties. In November 1939 she proceeded to Darwin, where she was based until Christmas day, returning to Sydney on 9 January 1940 for further service in the port area.

HMAS Kookaburra was used for training, boom defence and examination during her commissison.
HMAS Kookaburra was used for training, boom defence and examination during her commissison.

On 9 April 1940 she again proceeded to Darwin, arriving on 29 April 1940 to assume the dual role of Boom Defence and Examination vessel. With the exception of a refit in Brisbane between September 1942 and February 1943 Kookaburra was stationed in Darwin for the duration of World War II. Here, she carried out valuable work associated with patrolling and maintaining the Darwin anti-submarine boom net. She was present in Darwin harbour on 19 February 1942 when the Japanese carrier borne air squadrons made the first attack against the Darwin area and was involved in the salvage operations that followed.

Kookaburra paid off into reserve on 15 January 1946 at Darwin where she remained alongside the Boom Jetty for the next four years. On 27 November 1950 she recommissioned for the voyage to Sydney where she was refitted at Garden Island before again being placed in reserve until 1956. She again commissioned on 11 May 1956 under the command of Lieutenant Commander AM Downes, RANR(S) for oceanographic survey and general duties, following conversion to a Special Duties Vessel.

In July 1958 two ratings from Kookaburra were involved in the rescue of George Williams, a nine year old newsboy, who had fallen from the gangway of Kookaburra while she was visiting Brisbane. The boy vanished between the ship and the wharf and AB DL Trembath and LS JS Convy both immediately dived into the river after him. Fortunately they were able to find and support the boy in the strong current until they were hauled back on board. The Brisbane Telegraph later reported that Williams was uninjured and that he was given warm tea and placed in front of radiators on the ship while his clothes were dried on the boilers. The crew of Kookaburra also took up a collection and gave the boy one pound to recompense for the loss of his papers.

HMAS Kookaburra flying her decommissioning pennant.
HMAS Kookaburra flying her decommissioning pennant.

Kookaburra paid off at Sydney on 3 December 1958 and without any further sea-going service was removed from the Navy list and declared for disposal on 24 June 1965.