HMAS DIAMANTINA (K377, later F377, A266 and GOR266)
Class: River Frigate
Length: 301 feet, 6 inches
HMAS Diamantina was ordered as part of Australia's shipbuilding program during the Second World War. Twelve of these Australian built frigates were to enter service with the Royal Australian Navy. A further ten were ordered but cancelled as the war drew to a close.
In July 1945 Diamantina carried out a bombardment of Sohana Island, and supporting fire for the Australian troops ashore on Bougainville. During August she shelled positions on the Bonis Peninsula and points along the south side of Buka Passage. On completion of what proved to be her last operational bombardment of the war she proceeded to Choiseul Bay and then to Lae, Langemak, and on VJ Day (15 August), Madang.
In September Diamantina returned to the Solomons and on 8 September embarked Lieutenant General Kanda and Vice Admiral Samejima and their staffs for passage to Torokina for the official surrender of Japanese forces in the Solomons. On the same day Diamantina sailed for Nauru Island as Senior Naval Officer of the Nauru / Ocean Island Occupation Force. Following the official surrender of Nauru on board Diamantina she returned to Torokina on 19 September, departing on 22 September for the surrender of Ocean Island. En route on 26 September she called at Tarawa where she was welcomed as the first British Commonwealth warship to visit the Gilbert Islands since pre-war days. On 30 September she arrived at Ocean Island for the surrender and occupation.
She engaged in towing, patrol, salvage and troop transport work until August of 1946 when she was paid off into Reserve.
She was recommissioned in 1959 as a survey and oceanographic research vessel. Based in Fremantle, she had research cruises in the Indian, Pacific and southern oceans. In February 1960, scientists aboard Diamantina discovered a fissure in the ocean floor west of Cape Leeuwin which dropped to depths of over 4,000 fathoms. Now known as the Diamantina Trench, it was then the deepest known part of the Indian Ocean. Her research was considered very valuable during the Cold War. In addition, the ship carried out training, relief and 'show the flag' duties.
When she was decommissioned for the last time in February 1980, she was the last of the wartime frigates having steamed 615,755 miles since commissioning. She steamed under her own power to Brisbane in October of that year and was placed in her permanent drydock berth at the Museum.
Return to the HNSA Home Page.