HMAS WHYALLA (J153)
Type: Antisubmarine & Minesweeping Vessel, Bathurst
Displacement: 650 tons.
After the declaration of WW II, German and later Japanese submarines became active along the southern and eastern coast of Australia, attacking Australian and Allied merchantmen convoys. By the end of 1941, more than 70 German mines had been discovered off Spencer Gulf, Hobart, Bass Strait and the New South Wales coast between Sydney and Newcastle.
HMAS Whyalla was anchored in Sydney Harbor on 31 May 1942 when the Japanese midget submarines attack took place.
In January 1943, HMAS Whyalla became the first RAN warship to participate in the survey of unknown coastal waters of Papua, New Guinea. In the same month, while in a deep inlet on Cape Nelson Peninsula, she was attacked by 18 Japanese dive bombers and 6 fighters. Two Oerlikon AA gun crew were wounded and one Japanese fighter was shot down. There was no damage to the ship. At Milne Bay, she ran aground on a coral reef while conducting a survey. As a later result of this particular survey, Milne Bay became a major Allied base during the U.S. offensive in southwest Pacific in 1943.
In April 1943, Milne Bay was raided by Japanese bombers. HMAS Whyalla rendered great assistance to allied ships in escaping maneuvers.
In November 1943, HMAS Whyalla resumed escort duties off the east coast of Australia. In December 1944, she was engaged in minesweeping operations off the southeast coast of Australia. On 28 December 1944, off Cape Everard, a whale rose under the forefoot of the ship and collided with the sonar dome and rendered it inoperative. The whale survived.
In 1945, HMAS Whyalla was attached to the British Pacific Fleet and formed part of the occupying forces that received the Japanese surrender of Hong Kong. She was paid off in May 1946 after steaming over 110,000 nautical miles during her wartime career.
In February 1947, she was sold to the Victorian Ports and Harbors in Melbourne. The vessel was renamed the Rip and serviced pile lights off Port Phillip Bay and conducted blasting operations on a dangerous rip at the entrance of Port Phillip Bay until 1984.
In 1987, the ship was permanently landlocked in Whyalla.
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