HMAS Cape Leeuwin

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HMAS Cape Leeuwin
Career (Australia) RAN ensign
Namesake: Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia
Builder: Cockatoo Island Dockyard
Laid down: 15 July 1924[1]
Launched: 10 December 1924[1]
Commissioned: 27 August 1943
Decommissioned: 12 December 1945
General characteristics
Displacement: 1406 gross tons
Length: 225 feet (69 m)
Beam: 35 feet (11 m)
Draught: 20 feet (6.1 m)
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h)
Armament: 1 x QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval gun, 5 x Oerlikon 20 mm cannon, 2 x Vickers machine gun
Notes: Ship characteristics from Straczek[2]

HMAS Cape Leeuwin was a lighthouse tender which was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) between mid-1943 and the end of 1945.

Operational history

Cape Leeuwin was built in 1924 for the lighthouse service.[3] She was requisitioned for service with the RAN from the Queensland Department of Commerce in October 1941 and commissioned into the Navy on 27 August 1943.[1] Her peacetime captain, Noel Buxton, stayed with the ship throughout her naval service and received the rank of Lieutenant.[4]

From August 1943, Cape Leeuwin was used to lay buoys and service lights along the coast of Queensland and in the South-West Pacific. She laid buoys and beacons between Milne Bay and Hollandia in New Guinea. From late 1944, she served in the Philippines Campaign, and established navigation aids at Leyte, Mindoro, Subic Bay and Manila. As part of these operations, she was the first Australian ship to enter Manila Bay after the Battle of Manila.[4] In July 1945, she and HMAS Hawkesbury established lighthouses in the Moluccas which reopened a route between Darwin and Morotai.[5]

After the war, Cape Leeuwin was decommissioned from the RAN and returned to her owners on 12 December 1945.[2] She continued in Australian service until 1963 when she was paid off and sold to a company in Asia, which named her Ruby.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Australian Naval History on 27 August 1943". Naval Historical Society of Australia. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Straczek, J.H. (1996). The Royal Australian Navy. Ships, Aircraft and Shore Establishments. Sydney: Navy Public Affairs - Sydney. ISBN 1876043784. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rowell, J; Richmond, C (1976). "HMAS Cape Leeuwin". Naval Historical Review. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Great Work by Cape Leeuwin". The Argus. 14 March 1945. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  5. "HMAS Hawkesbury (I)". Ship histories. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 12 July 2009.