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11 February 2014

HMAS Melbourne and Voyager collide.

February the 10th 1964
this fateful night, a tragic moment in local maritime history occurred.
This painting on display at the museum, depicts the tragic moment of impact when the two Australian Navy Ships collided 19 miles to sea off Jervis Bay.


  Donated by D.Haward – B.Ballantyne (EX CPO’s R.A.N)

HMAS-Voyager-rs -HMAS-Melbourne---rs

        HMAS Voyager  
(Daring Class Destroyer)

HMAS Melbourne

On the evening of 10 February 1964, the two ships were performing manoeuvres off Jervis Bay. Melbourne's aircraft were performing flying exercises, and Voyager was tasked as plane guard: sitting behind and to port (left), in position to recover the crew of any crashing aircraft. After a series of turns intended to reverse the courses of the two ships, Voyager ended up ahead and to starboard (right) of the carrier. The destroyer was ordered to resume plane guard position, which would involve turning to starboard, away from the carrier, then looping around behind. Instead, Voyager began turning starboard, then came around to port. The bridge crew on Melbourne assumed that Voyager was zig-zagging to let the carrier pass and then assume position, while senior personnel on Voyager were not paying attention to the manoeuvre. At 20:55, both ships realised that Voyager was not turning away, but despite both captains attempting to evade, the speed and heading of both ships made collision inevitable.

781-HMAS-Melbourne-rs Melbourne struck Voyager at 20:56, with the carrier's bow hitting just behind the bridge and cutting the destroyer into two pieces. Of the 314 aboard Voyager, 82 were killed, most of whom died immediately or were trapped in the heavy bow section, which sank after 10 minutes. The rest of the ship sank after midnight. Melbourne, although damaged, suffered no fatalities, and was able to sail to Sydney the next morning, with most of the Voyager survivors aboard - the rest had been taken to the naval base HMAS Creswell.

Biography of the Royal Commission into the incident.
exhibit Part of the exhibit with an audio visual presentation of the “Voyager Incident”
voyager-chair A poignant reminder.
Part of the exhibit is this chair recovered from the Melbourne
plucked from the sea on the 13th Feb 1964, three days after the collision.
If you look under the chair it still has an inscription from the Melbourne clearly visable

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