SOUTH BRISBANE DRY DOCK (GRAVING DOCK)
NEAR SOUTH BANK PARKLANDS,
BRISBANE, QLD
USED DURING WW2

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visits since 2 January 2002

The existence of a dry dock in Brisbane was one of the main factors in the US Navy's decision to establish a large Submarine Base at Capricorn Wharf at New Farm. The dock played a vital role in the maintenance and repair of many submarines as well as other Naval vessels.

Between April 1942 and December 1944, 51 US Navy submarines made 85 dockings at the South Brisbane Dry Dock. Many of these were to allow routine maintenance but some were required to carry out urgent repairs after damage in action against the Japanese.

Brisbane based submarine USS Growler was on patrol in the Solomons in early 1943. On 7 February 1943, USS Growler made a surface attack on a Japanese Naval vessel. The Japanese vessel opened fire and killed two of those on the bridge and wounded three others. The Japanese vessel then rammed the USS Growler. The Captain, Commander Howard Gilmore, who was one of the wounded, ordered the bridge to be cleared. The two other wounded men were dragged below. Commander Gilmore issued his final order "Take her down". He remained on the bridge and lost his life in order to save his boat. He was posthumously awarded the first submariner Medal of Honor.

USS Growler returned to Brisbane with the Executive Officer assuming command of the submarine. USS Growler had 18 feet of its bow bent at right angles. Evans Deakins & Co. at Rocklea manufactured a new bow for USS Growler which was fitted at the South Brisbane Dry Dock. USS Growler left the dry dock on 1 May 1943 with a nickel kangaroos painted on the new bow of the submarine. After this incident, USS Growler was known as the "Kangaroo Express". She was eventually lost in action in November 1944.

Many other submarines that were based at Capricorn Wharf had minor and/or major repairs carried out at the South Brisbane Dry Dock. The dry dock now houses the Queensland Maritime Museum.

 

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At the Submarine Base at New Farm, The USS Growler's main hull
is pointed towards the CSR Sugar Refinery across the Brisbane River but
her battered  bow is pointing towards Hawthorne

 

A new bow for USS Growler which had been
manufactured by Evans Deakins being lifted into place.

 

US SUBMARINES DOCKED AT
THE SOUTH BRISBANE DRY DOCK DURING WW2

S-40 29 Apr 42
S-39 2 May 42
S-37 12 May 42
10 Aug 42
S-47 27 May 42
14 Aug 42
19 Feb 43
S-44 30 May 42
9 Sep 42
S-42 2 Jun 42
23 Sep 42
22 Nov 44
23 Dec 44
S-43 22 Jun 42
24 Oct 42
14 Feb 43?
S-46 1 Jul 42
27 Aug 42
S-41 10 Jul 42
S-45 26 Jul 42
7 Feb 45
Sculpin 30 Oct 42
Sailfish 5 Nov 42
Amberjack 9 Nov 42
Plunger 15 Nov 42
Snapper 2 Jan 43
Grampus 3 Feb 43
Grayback 7 Feb 43
Growler 23 Feb 43
3 Apr 43
15 Apr 43
Guardfish 2 Mar 43
27 Nov 43
9 Dec 43
17 Dec 43
Gato 11 Mar 43
Albacore 13 Mar 43
29 Sep 43
14 Dec 43
Tuna 4 May 43
12 Aug 43
17 Dec 43
Greenling 11 May 43
Scamp 17 May 43
12 Dec 43
Silversides 16 Jul 43
20 Mar 44
Grouper 19 Aug 43
Peto 22 Aug 43
30 Aug 43
11 Nov 43
16 Jan 44
Puffer 23 Aug 43
Balao 26 Sep 43
20 Jan 44
Blackfish 7 Oct 43
22 Feb 44
Drum 21 Oct 43
S-31 4 Nov 43
S-38 25 Jan 44
Darter 8 Mar 44
21 Aug 44
Cero 10 Mar 44
27 Aug 44
Tunny 24 Apr 44
Bashaw 16 May 44
9 Oct 44
Sea Horse 29 May 44
Mingo 31 May 44
Dace 4 Jun 44
24 Aug 44
Blue Gill 14 Jun 44
Flying Fish 14 Jul 44
Flounder 24 Jul 44
6 Oct 44
Sea Wolf 1 Sep 44
Permit 5 Sep 44
Pollack 24 Sep 44
Guavina 11 Oct 44
Gar 17 Oct 44
Stingray 20 Oct 44
Gabilan 7 Dec 44
Pintado 10 Jan 45

 

The South Brisbane Dry Dock is now the home for 
the WW2 Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Diamantina

 

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                         "Australia @ War"
                         

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 2 January 2002

This page last updated 21 February 2009