Wednesday, 21 March 2012

HMAS Castlemaine

Yesterday we joined a few home school families for a trip to the HMAS Castlemaine at Gem Pier in Williamstown Victoria.  It was a wonderful three hours of exploring !  If you are ever in Victoria add this to your to do list !

Some things of interest
  • It took less than six months to build.
  • The Castlemaine was built in Victoria, at Williamstown Dockyard.
  • She was launched on 7th August 1941 and commissioned 17th June 1942.
  • She is one of the 60 Australian-built Bathurst class corvettes to serve throughout World War Two and the last such vessel still afloat.
  • Ships today do not go any faster than ships back then. The only difference is the economic efficiency of ships today.
  • She had a crew of 90 sailors (all men)
  • 70 of the crew slept in hammocks in one small area.
  • Each seaman was issued his own hammock which had his service number and name on it.  He took it with him where ever he went.
  • Each man had a set space / area where he hung his hammock.
  • When the ships were decommissioned they were each sold for £12 000
  • There are only two ships left from WWII in Australia and this is one of them.
  • Contrary to popular belief sailors were not issued rum on a daily basis.  Rum was kept on board for special occasions. It was used to toast the Queen on her birthday and coronation.
  • Today sailors have a beer allocation.  They are allowed one beer a day and only when in port. The beer is opened before they receive it.
  • The ship had enough food for 40 days at sea. 
  • There was fresh food for the first 10 days and after that it was powdered or tinned food.
  • They used salt water for everything. (toilets, showers, cleaning etc)
  • There were two types of compass aboard this ship.
  • She has been here for 30 years as a museum and has no government funding. She is manned and maintained by volunteers.
  • Some of the men who served aboard her 70 years ago still volunteer aboard her today.  We met two of them.  Both were in their 90's and took a tour !
For interest I had a look on Google Maps at the Castlemaine.

View Larger Map


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