HMAS Woomera

HMAS Woomera was an Australian naval vessel operated by the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was one of a class of 32 wooden motor vessels built for the Army and entered service in late 1945 as AV 1356 (Ashburton). She was transferred to the RAN on 23 January 1946 and commissioned as Woomera. The ship's main role was carrying stores and dumping obsolete ammunition at sea. In this role she visited many ports in Australia and New Guinea.

Namesake: Woomera (spear-thrower)
Builder: Australian Shipbuilding Board, Fremantle
Completed: November 1945
  • 1945 (as AV Ashburton)
  • 23 January 1946 (into RAN)
Renamed: 23 January 1946 (to HMAS Woomera)
Fate: Sunk following an accidental explosion on 11 October 1960
General characteristics
Type: Armament store carrier
Displacement: 603 tons
Length: 125 ft (38 m)
Beam: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Propulsion: Ruston-Hornsby diesel engines - 2 shafts BHP 306
Speed: 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h)
Range: 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) at 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h)
Complement: 3 officers, 17 sailors

On 11 October 1960 an accidental explosion occurred onboard HMAS Woomera while she was dumping ammunition into the sea off Sydney. As a result of the explosion the ship burst into flames and sank, killing two of her crew members. The surviving crew members were rescued by HMAS Quickmatch and HMS Cavendish.


  • Straczek, Joe (2001). "HMAS Woomera - Life and Loss". Australian Warship Review. 6.
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