HMAS Brisbane

HMAS Brisbane was a Chatham class light cruiser built at the Cockatoo Dockyard in Sydney. She was the first large ship built at that dockyard, and was laid down in the same month that the yard was purchased by the Commonwealth of Australia. She was the third Chatham class cruiser built for the new Royal Australian Navy, after HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne, and was twice as expensive as her sister ships, partly because large parts of the machinery and armaments had to be imported from Britain. She took just under three years to complete, one year longer than her sister ships, an impressive achievement for a dockyard with no prior experience of building large warships, and under wartime construction. However, she cost twice as much to build as her sister ships.

HMAS Brisbane from the left
HMAS Brisbane from the left

For most of the First World War the Brisbane remained in southern waters, under the direct control of the Australian Government, then at Melbourne. Her main duties were trade protection in Australian waters. In April 1917 she was dispatched to the East Indies during the hunt for the German raider Wolf, and on 24 September 1917 was sent to the Solomon Islands, one possible location for the raider (the Wolf escaped the net and made her way back to Germany).

In 1918 Brisbane escorted convoys from Australia to the United Kingdom. In November 1918 she joined the British naval squadron in the Aegean, before returning to Australia in 1919. She was turned into a training ship in 1928, and paid off in 1935. She was scrapped in 1936 after a twenty year career.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4,500 nautical miles at 16kts

Armour – deck

1.5in – 3/8in

 - belt

2in on 1in plate

 - conning tower





Eight 6in guns
Four 3pdr guns
Two 21in submerged torpedo tubes (beam)

Crew complement



30 September 1915


November 1916

Sold for break up



Captain Cumberlege

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 October 2007), HMAS Brisbane ,

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