Coordinates: 43°02′58″S 147°16′08″E / 43.0494718°S 147.2689018°E / -43.0494718; 147.2689018

United Kingdom
BuilderMontrose Shipyard, Scotland
Launched6 October 1953
Commissioned28 September 1954
FateSold to Australia
Commissioned12 August 1962
Decommissioned30 April 1990
Honours and
  • Battle honours:
  • Malaysia 1964–66
FateUndergoing conservation
General characteristics
Class and typeTon-class minesweeper
Displacement440 tons
Length152 ft (46 m)
Beam28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught8 ft (2.4 m)
PropulsionOriginally Mirrlees diesel, later Napier Deltic, producing 3,000 shp (2,200 kW) on each of two shafts
Speed15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)

HMAS Curlew (M 1121) was a Ton-class minesweeper operated by the Royal Navy (as HMS Chediston) from 1953 to 1961, and the Royal Australian Navy from 1962 to 1991. During her Australian service, the ship operated off Malaysia during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation during the mid-1960s, then was modified for use as a minehunter. Delays in bringing a replacement class into service kept Curlew operational until 1990, and she was sold into civilian service in 1991.


The minesweeper was built by the Montrose Shipyard in Scotland, launched on 6 October 1953, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 28 September 1954 as HMS Chediston.[1]

Operational history

Royal Navy

Between August 1955 and October 1957, the ship was attached to Tay Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.[1] After October 1957, the ship was placed in storage.[1]

Royal Australian Navy

The ship was one of six sold to the Royal Australian Navy for 5.5 million in 1961.[2] Chediston was modified for tropical conditions, and commissioned on 12 August 1962 as HMAS Curlew.[1][2]

During the mid-1960s, Curlew was one of several ships operating in support of the Malaysian government during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation. This service was later recognised with the battle honour "Malaysia 1964–66".[3][4]

In the late 1960s, Curlew and sister ship Snipe were modified for use as minehunters.[5]

Divers from Curlew inspected the wreck of Japanese submarine I-124.[6]

Decommissioning and fate

The delay in bringing the Bay class minehunters into service kept Curlew operational until 1990.[5] Curlew paid off on 30 April 1990 and was sold on 17 June 1991.[1] In the late 1990s she appeared in the movies Paradise Road and The Thin Red Line.[7]

As of mid-2003, Curlew was operating out of Port Huon, Tasmania as a fishing vessel.[8] The ship was later used for accommodation at Port Huon.[7]

In April 2018 she was purchased for $1. Her new owner intends to use the ship as a floating backpacker hostel in Brisbane.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Curlew
  2. ^ a b Spurling, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 189
  3. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 222
  6. ^ Fulton, The Fujita Plan
  7. ^ a b c Bevin, Edith (22 July 2018). "Ex-Navy minesweeper HMAS Curlew's new mission as floating backpacker hostel". ABC News. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  8. ^ Australian Sea Heritage, Old ships find a new life



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