HMAS Goorangai | Commemoration Service 2019
Sunday 17th November 2019 | The HMAS Goorangai Commemoration Service is held each year on the Sunday nearest to the anniversary.
This annual service commemorates the sinking of the Minesweeper HMAS Goorangai in Port Phillip on November 20, 1940 with the loss of all hands.
The minesweeper was the first Royal Australian Navy ship sunk during the Second World War after it was split in two in a collision with the 10,400 ton troopship MV Duntroon at the mouth of the bay.
Despite the years, the outline of the Goorangai is still visible as you dive deep into the cool bay water; you can still see the splintered remains of the former 223-ton fishing trawler that was converted to a minesweeper at the start of the war. It is not hard to picture the panic of the sailors aboard the broken ship as it sank like a stone in the fading light.
Until that point, the Goorangai had been carrying out the urgent task of clearing mines along Australia's east coast that had been laid by the German merchant raider Pinguin and its auxiliary Passat.
The mines had already sunk two merchant ships: the British ship Cambridge and the American vessel City of Rayville.
As Goorangai returned to Melbourne to resupply and seek calm refuge, it crossed the path of the MV Duntroon ferrying troops to Sydney.
The Goorangai had been anchored at Queenscliff and decided to move to more comfortable anchorage at Point Nepean near the quarantine station.
At about 8.45pm on November 20, 1940, the MV Duntroon collided with the HMAS Goorangai.
The Goorangai sank in less than a minute. Poor ship lighting was later blamed for the tragedy.
The reason was of little consequence to those on board, all 24 died with only a handful of bodies recovered.
A few months after the HMAS Goorangai collision the military set explosives on the minesweeper to clear the important shipping channel .
Despite this clearing work, and the more recent massive dredging of the bay, the HMAS Goorangai remains - a largely unknown sentry and memorial to lost sailors, still guarding the bay.
The Queenscliffe Maritime Museum has a permanent HMAS Goorangai Display.
When & Where
Date: Sunday 17th November 2019
Location⊜ Hesse St Queenscliff | Google Map
→ HMAS Goorangai | Commemoration Service 2019
→ Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria
→ Queenscliffe Maritime Museum
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