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Canberra Times discovers previously unknown Australian battleship

By johnboy 26 January 2009 4

The Canberra Times’ Emma MacDonald has done the standard puff piece on Australia Day honours recipients. Of particular interest to me was she’s announced honours for the men who discovered a WWII Australian “battleship” by the name of HMAS Sydney.

This confused me no end because I’d always thought the famous HMAS Sydney was a light cruiser with a displacement of around 7,000 tons. In fact the wikipedia does seem to bear this out as does every single other source everywhere, ever. This is because the ship she is talking about was in fact a light cruiser, albeit an extremely successful one (up until its ignominious defeat by a German opponent smaller and lighter still).

A battleship is a very different thing, many times the size of the HMAS Sydney. To quote Wikipedia on the subject of battleships:

    A battleship is a large, heavily armored warship with a main battery consisting of the largest calibre of guns. Battleships were larger, better armed, and better armored than cruisers and destroyers.

Sydney fails the test on all counts.

There’s only ever been one Australian battleship, the first HMAS Australia weighing in nearly three times heavier than the Sydney, despite hailing from a time of much smaller ships. (WWII era battleships ranged well over 40,000 tons).

Talking the Sydney into being more significant than it was drives me nuts. Apologies for going all SGS on you but I’m sick of letting this slide.

Having said that, hearty congratulations to all honours recipients today.

UPDATED: The ABC has a list of local recipients. Did Richard Rolfe really get a gong for WATCHING loads of sport?

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4 Responses to
Canberra Times discovers previously unknown Australian battleship
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NickD 5:39 pm 26 Jan 09

I’ve seen Department of Defence media releases and stories in the Defence Force service newspapers (written by and for members of the military) which make this kind of mistake, so the CT is hardly alone.

barking toad 2:07 pm 26 Jan 09

Did Dodson really get a gong for his Irish heritage? And was his desire to change the date of Australia Day linked to the “struggles”?

On the other, sheilas shouldn’t be allowed to write about bloke things.

p1 1:02 pm 26 Jan 09

Did Richard Rolfe really get a gong for WATCHING loads of sport?

Sounds like it.

farnarkler 10:56 am 26 Jan 09

She did correctly refer to the Sydney as a cruiser on the second page.

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