Australian steamer Adele

Adele was a steel screw steamer that was built in 1906 as a yacht. She was twice commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), firstly as HMAS Franklin and later as HMAS Adele. She was wrecked at Port Kembla, New South Wales on 7 May 1943.

HMAS Franklin
  • Adele (1906–1915)
  • HMAS Franklin (1915–22)
  • Adele (1922–39)
  • HMAS Adele (1939–43)
Port of registry:
Builder: Hawthorn & Co Leith, Scotland, United Kingdom
Yard number: 116
Launched: 18 October 1906
Completed: November 1906
Fate: Wrecked 7 May 1943
General characteristics
Type: Steel screw steamer
Length: 145 ft 0 in (44.20 m)
Beam: 22 ft 4 in (6.81 m)
Draught: 13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)
Propulsion: 1 × 68 hp (51 kW) triple expansion steam engine (Hawthorns & Co Ltd, Leith)
Sail plan: Yacht
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h)
Armament: 2 × .303-in Vickers machine guns (HMAS Adele)

Design and construction

Adele was built in 1906 by Hawthorns & Co Ltd, Leith, Scotland[1] as yard number 116. She was launched on 18 October 1906[2] and completed in November 1906.

Originally built as a yacht, she was later converted to steam power.[3]


By 1930, Adele was powered by a 68 horsepower (51 kW) triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of 12 inches (300 mm), 19 inches (480 mm) and 33 inches (840 mm) bore by 22 inches (560 mm) stroke. The engine was manufactured by Hawthorns & Co Ltd. Adele was capable of 12 knots (22 km/h).[1][4]

Official Number and Code Letters

Official numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers. In 1930, Adele had the UK Official Number 123022 and used the Code Letters HJRW.[4]

Operational history

In 1915, Adele was purchased by the Australia Government for £21,500 from the estate of Henry Dutton of Kapunda, South Australia.[1]

On 14 September 1915 she was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Franklin.[5] HMAS Franklin served as a tender to the Royal Australian Naval College.[6] She was paid off on 31 March 1921 only to be recommissioned on 21 September.[1]

Franklin was decommissioned on 18 September 1922 and gifted to the Administrator of Papua-New Guinea, serving there until 1929.[1] By 1930, she had reverted to the name Adele and was owned by the Commonwealth Government of Australia and operated by the Department of Home & Territories. At the time she was homeported at Port Adelaide under the British Flag.[4] In 1932, Adele was laid up at Rabaul. She was sold for £1,652 on 7 December of that year to W L Buckland of Melbourne, Australia who refitted her as a private yacht and used her for cruising. Adele was later sold to C H Relph of Sydney and was laid up for some years at Rose Bay Port Jackson, Sydney.[1]

On 24 October 1939, Adele was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Adele. She was armed with two .303-in Vickers machine guns and employed as an examination vessel. From December 1941, HMAS Adele was attached to HMAS Maitland.[7]


On 7 May 1943, Adele struck the breakwater at Port Kembla and was subsequently declared a total loss.[8] The wreck of Adele is protected under the New South Wales Heritage Act, 1977.[9]


Franklin is remembered in the naming of two other sail training yachts associated with the RAN College:

  • a yacht in the 1960s and 1970s, which took part in several Sydney to Hobart races;
  • a 25 metres (82 ft) Hunter yacht acquired in 2005.[10]


  1. John Ware (December 1972), "Millionaire's Yacht's Naval Service", Naval Historical Review
  2. "Adele". Launches and Trial Trips: Launches—Scotch. The Marine Engineer and Naval Architect. Vol. 29. 1 November 1909. p. 137.
  3. "1123022". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  4. "LLOYD'S REGISTER, NAVIRES A VAPEUR ET A MOTEURS" (PDF). Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  5. "On this day:1914–1918 > WW1". Naval Historical Society of Australia. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  6. "AWM Collection Record: 300647". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  7. "HMAS ADELE EXAMINATION VESSEL ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY". Peter Dunn. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  8. "NEW SOUTH WALES SHIPWRECKS". Encyclopedia of Australian Shipwrecks. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  9. "Adele (+1943)". Wrecksite. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  10. New fleet addition, RAN "Navy News" paper, edition V48, No22, 2005-12-01, accessed 2009-10-18

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