HMAS Kanimbla (1936)

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Kanimbla at Fremantle port, 1945
HMAS Kanimbla at Fremantle port, 1945
Career (United Kingdom / Australia) RN Ensign
Builder: Harland and Wolff Limited
Laid down: July 1933
Launched: 15 December 1935
Christened: 6 September 1939 (Royal Navy)
1 June 1943 (Royal Australian Navy)
Decommissioned: 25 March 1949
Renamed: Kanimbla (1936-1939)
HMS Kanimbla (1939-1943)
HMAS Kanimbla (1943-1950)
Oriental Queen (1961 onwards)
Reclassified: Passenger vessel (1936-1939)
Armed merchant cruiser (1939-1943)
Landing Ship Infantry (1943-1950)
Passenger vessel (1950 onwards)
Motto: "Cry Havoc"
Fate: Returned to civilian service
Badge: HMAS kanimbla crest.png
General characteristics
Displacement: 10,985 tons
Length: 468.8 ft (142.9 m)
Beam: 66.3 ft (20.2 m)
Draught: 24.4 ft (7.4 m)
Propulsion: Diesel engines, twin screws. 10,000 horsepower
Speed: 19 knots
Capacity: 1,380 troops (as landing ship)
Complement: 345

(as merchant cruiser):
7 x 6-inch guns
2 x 3-inch anti-aircraft guns
2 x Lewis light machine guns
(as landing ship):
1 x 4-inch gun
2 x 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns
2 x 2-pounder anti-aircraft guns

12 x 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns

HMAS Kanimbla was a passenger ship converted for use as an armed merchant cruiser and landing ship infantry during World War II. Between 1939 and 1945, the was commissioned in the Royal Navy, then the Royal Australian Navy.


The ship was laid down as motor vessel (MV) Kanimbla for McIlwraith McEachern Limited by Harland and Wolff Limited at Belfast in Northern Ireland in July 1933. She was launched on 15 December 1935 and completed on 26 April 1936.

The ship was named for the Kanimbla Valley, west of Blackheath in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

Operational history

World War II

The ship operated a passenger service between Cairns, Queensland and Fremantle, Western Australia until the outbreak of World War II. Following this, she was converted to an armed merchant cruiser at Sydney and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Kanimbla on 6 September 1939. Kanimbla was one of several Allied vessels located in Sydney Harbour during the Japanese midget submarine attack of 31 May 1942.[1] She arrived back in Sydney on 2 April 1943, was converted to a Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Kanimbla on 1 June 1943. In this configuration, she could carry 1380 troops, and carried 10 LCA type landing craft.


Kanimbla paid off at Sydney on 25 March 1949 and was returned to her owners on 13 December 1950. In 1961 the ship was sold to the Pacific Transport Company and renamed Oriental Queen. Oriental Queen served as a liner visiting various Pacific islands, and served on the Yokohama - Guam route. When arriving back in Yokohama on 6 October 1973, this would prove to be her final voyage. She was laid up and duly sold to Taiwanese breakers, arriving in Kaohsiung on 7 December 1973 to be broken up.


  1. Jenkins, David (1992). Battle Surface! Japan's Submarine War Against Australia 1942–44. Milsons Point: Random House Australia. pp. 193–194. ISBN 0-09-182638-1. 
  • Cruising Ships, W.H. Mitchell and L.A. Sawyer, Doubleday, 1967

External links

fr:HMAS Kanimbla (1936)