HMAS Stawell was one of 60 Australian minesweepers built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government's Ship - Building Program and was built at the H.M.A. Naval Dockyard in Williamstown.
HMAS Stawell was a Bathurst Class Minesweeper and was 188 foot 10 inches long with a displacement of 733 tons [938 tons full load] with a complement of 90 personnel and carried 93 tons of oil fuel.
HMAS Stawell deployments were mainly in the Australia/New Guinea region and on November 4, 1943, departed Cairns on escort duty to Milne Bay in New Guinea.
Operating in the New Guinea theatre, HMAS Stawell was kept busy escorting, carrying stores, mail and troops.
On July 26, 1944, HMAS Stawell departed Madang, New Guinea to proceed to Melbourne for a refit after an absence of 346 days of almost unbroken sea service.
After the refit and sea trials in Port Phillip Bay, HMAS Stawell proceeded back to the waters of New Guinea and after duties in the area, proceeded to Biak Island and from there did convoy escort to Morotai Island, crossing the Equator for the first time on November 20, 1944.
In all, mainly on the Biak - Morotai run HMAS Stawell crossed the Equator 32 times.
On November 24, in company with HMAS Burdekin, HMAS Stawell escorted two liberty ships from Morotai Island to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines in support of General Douglas McArthur's invasion force.
Escort duties continued until March 26, 1945, when H.M.A.S. Stawell proceeded independently back to for Australia but was again called into action on April 1 to escort troops and supply ships to Morotai in preparation for the Borneo invasion.
On July 1, the AIF landed in Balikpapan, Borneo. On July 23, 1945, HMAS Stawell went in support of Latrobe and Gascoyne in support of action in Balikpapan and there sank a small Japanese craft carrying stores and troops and took a Japanese prisoner.
On August 15, news of the Japanese surrender reached HMAS Stawell and whilst anchored in Biak, and on August 16 was ordered to Subic Bay in the Philippines to act as a liaison ship, then on to Hong Kong on September 29 th as part of the occupation force.
On October 11, HMAS Stawell left Hong Kong for Brisbane, via New Guinea, Thursday Island and the Whitsunday Passage.
HMAS Stawell was decommissioned on March 26 th 1946 after travelling 72,000 miles.
In May 1952, HMAS Stawell was transferred to New Zealand and re-commissioned as HMNZS
The ship was finally sold for scrap in 1968.
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