HMAS Banks

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Career (Australia (RAN)) RAN Ensign
Namesake: Sir Joseph Banks
Builder: Walkers Limited in Maryborough, Queensland
Launched: 15 December 1959
Commissioned: 16 February 1960
Decommissioned: 17 December 1982
Out of service: 1995
Motto: "Integrity"
Fate: Sold into civilian service in 1995
Status: Active in civilian service
Badge: HMAS banks crest.png
General characteristics
Type: General Purpose Vessel
Displacement: 207 tonnes standard
255 tonnes full load
Length: 90 ft (27 m) p/p,
101 ft (31 m) overall
Beam: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Draught: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Propulsion: Diesel twin screw, 348 bhp
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h)
Complement: 16
Armament: .50 cal machine guns fitted as required

HMAS Banks (GPV901/Y266/G244/244) was a General Purpose Vessel of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), serving in a range of capacities from 1960 until 1995. She was named in honour of Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist aboard HM Bark Endeavour during the discovery of the eastern coast of Australia in 1770.


Banks was laid down by Walkers Ltd of Maryborough, Queensland in 1959 and launched on 15 December 1959 of that year by Mrs. W H Harrington, wife of the Second Naval Member of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board. She commissioned into the RAN on 16 February 1960 with pennant number GPV901.

Banks wore the pennant numbers GPV901, Y266, G244, and finally 244 during her career.[1]

Operational history

On completion, Banks was fitted out for fishery surveillance duties in northern Australian waters. In April 1961, while operating in the Darwin area, she carried out a hydrographic survey of the Adelaide River area, becoming the first seagoing ship in 50 years to make the Adelaide River passage.[2]

From 1963 to 1966, Banks provided training for members of the Papua New Guinea Division, based at Manus Island. During this period, Banks was manned by a mixed Australia-PNG crew.

In 1966, Banks returned to Sydney for a refit, before being handed over to the Royal Australian Navy reserve on 7 July, 1967, for use as a navigation and seamanship training vessel attached to HMAS Encounter, the Navy base in Port Adelaide, South Australia.

Banks decommissioned on 17 December 1982. She was allocated to HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay, New South Wales as a General Purpose Vessel, and was used chiefly for navigational training. In 1985, she was transferred to HMAS Waterhen in Sydney, where she continued to be used for navigation training.

In 1995, Banks left Sydney to undergo a major refit at Port Macquarie, however the refit was terminated on 1 September 1995 after a fire onboard. Banks was sold shortly after to the present owners (Pleasure Cruises Australasia of Ulladulla, New South Wales), who have converted her into a charter vessel, MV Banks.[3]


  1. Straczek, John. The Royal Australian Navy: Ships, Aircraft and Shore Establishments, Navy Public Affairs, Sydney, 1996. ISBN 1-876-04378-4
  2. Bastock, John. Australia’s Ships of War, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1975. ISBN 0-207-12927-4
  3. "MV Banks website". Retrieved 11 December 2008.