HMAS Stuart sailors tour historic HMAS Castlemaine

Published on LCDR Michelle Ryan (author), CPOML-S Stephen Slack (photographer)

Location(s): Williamstown, VIC

Topic(s): HMAS Stuart (F153), HMAS Castlemaine, Naval Heritage and History

HMAS Stuart's Ship’s Company stand in front of the World War Two Minesweeper, HMAS Castlemaine in Williamstown, Victoria. (photo: CPOML-S Stephen Slack)
HMAS Stuart's Ship’s Company stand in front of the World War Two Minesweeper, HMAS Castlemaine in Williamstown, Victoria.

A group of officers and sailors from HMAS Stuart recently toured the World War Two Minesweeper, HMAS Castlemaine in Williamstown, Victoria.

While in the region, the crew took the chance to tour the floating museum and learn some of its rich history.

Seaman Maritime Logistics Steward Amber Coles said the opportunity to view a ship that served in World War II was too good to pass up.

Seaman Amber Coles takes in the display in the crew accommodation space of World War Two Minesweeper, HMAS Castlemaine.

Seaman Amber Coles takes in the display in the crew accommodation space of World War Two Minesweeper, HMAS Castlemaine.

Castlemaine is the last vessel of her class still afloat. It’s been great to be able to walk around the whole ship and see how the crew lived all those years ago,” said LS Coles.

“The museum has done a great job displaying naval artefacts. You can see the Christmas Day lunch menu that the crew ate, the commissioning pennants and personal letters that former Commanding Officers sent and received.”

HMAS Castlemaine was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1942. The Bathurst Class Minesweeper was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers built for the RAN during World War II.

Castlemaine spent time involved in the hazardous task of supporting the Australian and Allied troops engaged in guerrilla operations against the Japanese occupation forces in Timor and was engaged in escort and survey duties in the North of Australia. For her service, Castlemaine was awarded battle honours for Darwin (1942-43), Pacific (1942-43) and New Guinea (1942-44).

Castlemaine was decommissioned in 1945, and was later used for training purposes at HMAS Cerberus.

Now open to visitors every weekend, the Minesweeper provides a unique historical experience to see how the ship operated during the war. Further information is available at http://hmascastlemaine.org.au.

HMAS Castlemaine is the last remaining Bathurst Class Corvette still afloat.

HMAS Castlemaine is the last remaining Bathurst Class Corvette still afloat.