FLOATING DOCKS
CAIRNS HARBOUR, QLD
DURING WWII

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Cairns Harbour had three floating docks anchored in the Trinity Inlet and the vicinity of Smith Creek during WWII. The largest floating dock, known as ARD7 (Auxiliary Repair Drydock 7), had been towed from San Francisco and was anchored in Trinity Inlet up stream in the direction of Admiralty Island. It had a tonnage capacity of about 3,000 tons and was able to accommodate two corvettes at the same time.

These three Dry Docks were attached to US Navy's "Escort Base One", Cairns which had been set up for destroyer repair, mine maintenance, patrol craft repair headquarters, and supply after the PT Boat Engine Overhaul Base had left Cairns in October 1943.

There was a smaller dock with a capacity of 100 tons and the third one had a capacity of 400 tons. These smaller docks were towed in sections and then bolted together when they arrived at Cairns. One of these two docks was Mobile Floating Drydock Number 10 (AFD-10).

LCI (L) 25 and LCI (L) 73 undocked from ARD7 on 28 November 1943. HMAS Katoomba docked in ARD7 on 28 November 1943 and undocked on 30 November 1943. LCI (L) 25 docked and undocked from ARD7 on 30 November 1943. LCI (L) docked in ARD7 on 30 November 1943.

LCI (L) 341 docked in ARD7 on 1 January 1944 and undocked the following day. Sub Chaser SC746 and HMAS Katoomba docked in ARD7 on 3 January 1944 and both undocked on 5 January 1944.

Both SC745 and SC749 then arrived in Cairns and docked in ARD7 on 5 January 1944 and both undocked on 7 January 1944. S.S. City of Fort Worth then docked in ARD7 on 7 January 1944 and undocked on 13 January 1944.

YMS-51, APc-2 and YP-236 docked in ARD7 on 14 January 1944 and all three undocked on 16 January 1944. USS Hutchins docked in ARD7 on 17 January 1944.

US Navy Sub Chaser USS SC703 arrived from Milne Bay and moored on the starboard side of the dock at "Escort Base One", Cairns at 1604 hours on 7 February 1944. USS SC703 went into the Floating Dock at 1100 hours on 9 February 1944 to undergo an overhaul. On 19 February 1944 at 1625 hours the Floating Dry Dock was flooded and the ship became water borne. Both engines broke down, and both rudders and starboard shaft and screws were removed. The ship was then moored to the dock at "Escort Base One".

USS Bush (DD529) left Milne Bay for Cairns on 8 April 1944 and anchored in Cairns Harbour at 1659 hours on 9 April 1944. It moored on the starboard side of "Escort Dock #1" at 1359 hours on 10 April 1944. USS Bush entered floating dry dock ARD7 at 1034 hours on 13 April 1944. USS Bush departed Cairns on 14 April 1944.

Flagship USS Long Beach left Milne Bay for Cairns at 0455 hours on 16 May 1944, arriving in Cairns Harbour and moored to the City Dock at about 1530 hours on 17 May 1944. HMAS Long Beach entered the floating Dry Dock in Trinity Inlet at about 0926 hours on 18 May 1944 and remained there until about 0933 hours on 21 May 1944 when it departed for Cape Sudest, New Guinea..

ARD7 relocated to San Pedro Bay in the Philippine Islands later in the war and was later names as the "USS West Milton".

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

Townsville Daily Bulletin 26 November 1945

 

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This page first produced 28 July 2014

This page last updated 28 July 2014