Built: Cockatoo Docks & Engineering Co Ltd, Sydney June 1964 - 1968
Launched: October 1966
Commissioned: February 1968
Displacement: 15,000 tons
Length: 515ft 6in
Breadth: 67ft 6in
Draught: 20ft 1in
Propulsion: Two six cylinder Scott-Sulzer diesel engines totalling 7,000hp, developing 10,740kW
Speed: 20+ knots
Complement: 25 officers, 392 sailors
Pennant Number: A215, later D215
International Call Sign: VKCU
Type: Destroyer Tender Roles: Destroyer Tender, Fleet Flagship, Training Ship
For the purposes of this webpage the majority of the details refer to its lengthier deployments, especially those where it left Australia's territorial waters.
More international exercises in August and September found the Stalwart back in the South China Sea area, en-route visiting Port Moresby, Darwin & Singapore. Manila was visited on the return to Sydney.
Stalwart's Christmas leave was disrupted by the devastation sustained at Darwin during the early hours of Christmas Day 1974 when Cyclone Tracy struck. In a huge mobilisation of emergency resources the Australian Navy played a critical role in providing support to the very heavily damaged area. The Stalwart sailed from Sydney on December 27th after loading a multitude of stores and supplies. The Stalwart arrived in Darwin on January 2nd 1975. The peacetime skills of the Stalwart's crew, in conjuction with its onboard workshop facilities were well utilised in the clean up efforts. The Stalwart spent almost a month docked at Darwin prior to returning to Sydney.
Another international exercise took place into October 1976 occurring in local waters. Following this Stalwart completed her first circumnavigation of Australia. At each port of call the Stalwart was a major item of interest especially on those days when the ship was opened up to visitors. Stalwart reached Sydney in time for Christmas leave.
Stalwart took part in the celebrations providing tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and her Silver Jubilee. As part of these celebrations Stalwart visited Hobart for a week, arriving there on September 27th. Back in Sydney in early October more celebrations took place alongside other naval vessels.
Following completion of the Silver Jubilee celebrations the Stalwart headed north in mid October to South-East Asian waters for more exercises, arriving in Singapore on November 4th. After completion of the exercises on the return to Australia the ship made a goodwill visit to the Cocos Island on December 3rd, but was back in Sydney in time for Christmas leave.
In the middle of May the Stalwart headed north to Port Moresby to assist of in the clean up of a former Navy oil installation
Early September found the Stalwart northbound for a ten week South East Asian deployment, visiting Ujung Pandang, Indonesia before reaching Singapore. The return to Sydney was at the end of November.
Another major international exercise took place in mid-October off the east coast of Australia, a challenging time for the Stalwart as she had only recently returned to service after a refit.
On June 30th 1982 the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne was paid off, Stalwart now became the new fleet Flagship. This brought additional responsibilities for the ship, which came at a time when her fleet maintenance roles were changing.
November found the Stalwart deployed to Western Australian waters for another multi-national exercise. The year ended as usual with the ship at Sydney for Christmas leave.
From here it was on to Yokosuka, Japan spending April 21st - 30th here, the Stalwart's first visit to Japan. ANZAC Day included time spent at the Commonwealth Memorial War cemetery, Yokohama. It was then south to the Phillipines, eight days were spent in reaching Manila, with international exercises taking place en-route. Manila was reached on May 8th. Departure was on May 11th, now heading for Jakarta, arriving here on May 17th. After a journey of 19,400 nautical miles in 92 days the Stalwart arrived back in Sydney on June 1st.
By early November the Stalwart was back in Singapore for a major air defence exercise. Then it was off to Hong Kong and on to Subic Bay (November 20th - 21st). The expected return to Sydney did not happen, the Stalwart was diverted to Jervis Bay to take on stores & supplies destined for the Australian National Antartic Research Expedition base on Macquarie Island, a small island midway between Tasmania and the Antartic. The regular supply ship, the Nella Dan had become trapped in pack ice. The icebreaker Icebird had been sent to free the Nella Dan, but it had been delayed by hurricane force winds and pack ice.
The Stalwart had arrived in Hobart on December 2nd, then making the almost 900 mile trip to Macquarie Island in four days, arriving there early on December 6th. It took several days to ferry the supplies across to the island and exchange the research personnel. By December 12th the Stalwart was back at Sydney, mission accomplished.
By mid June the Stalwart was back in Australian waters continuing on with the anniversary celebrations. Cities visited included Sydney, Adelaide, Fremantle, Perth, Darwin and then home to Sydney, where on October 6th the anniversary celebrations reached their height. The year closed with the ship back in Sydney.
The rest of the year was spent in Australian waters.
Training exercises continued but were interrupted when civil unrest erupted in Vanuatu, the Stalwart was sent to the island in case evacuation of the Australian residents and tourists was needed. Vanuatu was reached on May 22nd, they stayed for about a week but the civil situation improved, the Stalwart returned to its training schedule.
The final training cruise took the Stalwart to Singapore, leaving Sydney in early July and reaching Singapore on August 11th by way of Brisbane, South Molle Island, Cairns, Darwin, Jakarta and Penang. The return from Singapore was via Cebu & Manus Island. The return to Sydney was in time to participate in the Bi-centennial Naval Salute from September 26th to October 4th, which again included the Stalwart being open to the public.
During 1988 a total of 32,840 nautical miles were sailed, the most in any one year to date for the ship.
A training cruise took her to New Zealand waters visiting Marlborough Sound, Haraki Gulf, Wellington, Lyttleton and Auckland. Early in July the ship sailed for Tarawa lagoon, Republic of Kiribati in support of the South West Pacific forum. Whilst here the ship's bomb disposal team dealt with the disposal of two World War II vintage bombs in Tarawa Atoll. The Stalwart also provided a 21 gun salute on July 12th to mark the 10th anniversary of the Republic of Kiribatin.
After returning from Kiribati a further short cruise took the ship to Auckland and Dunedin. It was also about this time that the rumours circulating of the Stalwart's pay off were confirmed by the Fleet Commander. The Stalwart's final deployment began on October 9th, sailing from Sydney for South East Asia. Singapore was reached on October 23rd spending five days here before heading off to Ujung Pandang, then on to Cairns where the ship took part in the Remembrance Day activities.
Noumea, New Caledonia would be the last foreign port of call for Stalwart, visiting here November 17th - 20th. Stalwart's final arrival in Sydney took place on December 8th, proudly flying her paying-off pennant. During 1989 a total of 39,372 nautical miles was travelled.
On May 3rd 1990 a new chapter opened for the Stalwart when the vessel in fully operational condition was purchased for A$5.25 million by Sea Royal Ferries of Nicosia. The ship was renamed Her Majesty M for use mostly in the Mediterranean waters. Conversion to a cruise ship was hampered by financial difficulties encountered by the owners. The planned conversion at Perama did not take place and the ship was laid up there in 1992. The vessel was later renamed Tara II.
The ship was later sold to Lumen Mar, S.A., Panama.
During February 2003 the Tara II arrived at the shipbreakers at Alang, India for final scrapping.
Page added September 3rd 2007