- Old, Commander R.H., RAN
- Ship design and development
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Parramatta III, HMAS Parramatta II, HMAS Parramatta I, HMAS Avondale
- December 1986 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
ON 4 JULY 1986 HMAS Parramatta celebrated her Silver Jubilee – 25 years service preserving the peace.
The keel of the third warship to bear the name of the cradle city of Australia was laid down at Vickers Cockatoo Island Dockyard on 3 January 1957. Parramatta III was launched on 31 January 1959 by Lady Dowling, wife of the then CNS, VADM R. Dowling. Parramatta was commissioned into the RAN under the command of CMDR G.R. Griffiths RAN on 4 July 1961. Twenty five years later the ship has been instrumental in creating one-third of the history of the RAN.
Parramatta represents the RAN of the 60s and 70s and her story illustrates the meaning of Sea Power. In the mid 1950s the Australian Liberal Government, in reflection of the ‘forward defence’ principle of Australian strategic policy and in recognition of the rapid development of a serious Soviet submarine threat, announced the acquisition of a new warship class to be built in Australia – anti-submarine Frigates.
Parramatta, the second of six ships of the class, was constructed to the British Type 12 design modified for Australian conditions. Build time was 4½ years and the cost seven million pounds. During the 1960s Parramatta ranked among the world’s most modern anti- sub-marine escorts. This is mirrored in the ship’s motto ‘Strike Deep’. Between 1962 and 1977, the ship’s pennant number – initially F05, later DE46 – was a familiar sight in South East Asian waters ‘showing the flag’ on deployments and in SEATO exercises.
In 1967 Parramatta‘s weapon suite was updated with installation of the SEACAT anti-aircraft missile system and the Australian designed and built IKARA anti-submarine missile system. The ship decommissioned on 10 May 1977, recommissioning on 26 August 1981 after undergoing extensive overhaul at Williamstown Naval Dockyard. During the ensuing four years Parramatta was again kept busy providing an RAN presence over-seas.
Despite modernisation Parramatta now has limitations of age and design. The ship is manpower intensive through lack of automated systems. Fighting coordination with younger NCDS fitted units is difficult and the ship is not air capable. Notwithstanding such drawbacks Parramatta continues to render valuable service to the RAN. Fitted with the advanced Australian sonar MULLOKA in 1985, the ship still performs a vital ASW role and acquits herself well in exercises.
After an extensive period of refit and unscheduled maintenance, Parramatta has rejoined the Fleet as a fully operational unit following a successful Final Battle Problem on Friday, 13 June. The ship is currently deployed as part of an RAN Task Group to South East Asia for her 13th Trip ‘up top’. Since 1961 Parramatta has spent 43,000 hours underway and has steamed 580,000 miles.
The story of Parramatta is, in the final analysis, the story of her people. The many success of F05/DE46 are the result of hard work, dedication and loyalty. Ship and equipment shortcomings are largely overcome by the professionalism and commitment of all onboard. Self reliance is the cornerstone of pride and competitive spirit. The quality of Ship’s Companies over 25 years augurs well for the future.
The story of HMAS Parramatta does not end with her Silver Jubilee. The ship will continue to serve Australia well until the early 1990s. There will almost certainly be a fourth Parramatta to carry on a proud tradition. Her role will be identical to that of the first three Parramattas -to preserve the peace.
|Propulsion||2 x Babcock and Wilcox Boilers driving 2 Steam Turbines through double reduction gearboxes to twin propellers producing a total of 30,000 SHP.|
|Armament||Twin 4.5 inch radar controlled gun|
|Seacat anti-aircraft missile system|
|Ikara anti-submarine missile system|
|Two triple anti-submarine torpedo tubes|
|0.5″ Browning Machine Guns|
The Predecessors of HMAS Parramatta III
DE 46 is the third Australian warship to bear the name Parramatta. Her predecessors; Parramatta I, a 700 ton torpedo boat destroyer (1910-28), and Parramatta II, a 1060 ton sloop (1940-41), served the RAN well during both World Wars.
HMAS Parramatta I
The original HMAS Parramatta, the first warship of the embryo RAN, was built by Fairfield Ship Building and Engineering Co. Ltd. at Govan in Scotland. She was commissioned on 10 September 1910, armed with 1 four inch gun, 3 twelve pounder guns, 3 eighteen inch torpedo tubes and depth charges. The ship displaced 700 tonnes, had a speed of 30 knots and carried a complement of 66. Parramatta I led the First Australian Destroyer Flotilla during World War I. She saw action in New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies, assisting in the capture of German Colonies in the area.