A new HMQS Gayundah memorial has been unveiled by the Naval Association of Australia – Redcliffe Sub Section, coinciding with the 82nd anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Sydney II during World War II.
“November 19 is the anniversary of the sinking of the HMAS Sydney II in World War II, and we hold a service each year,” NAA-RSS President Karl Seddon said, as he emphasised the solemnity of the occasion.
The HMQS Gayundah, Queensland’s inaugural naval asset, had twin-screw propulsion, reaching speeds of 10 knots and a range of 1300 kilometers. Armed with significant weaponry, it safeguarded the coastline and pioneered wireless telegraphy in Australia.
After its naval service, the Gayundah transformed, serving in World War I before becoming a sand and gravel barge. Eventually, it found its final resting place in 1958, repurposed as a breakwater by the Moreton Bay Regional Council, concluding a storied maritime legacy.
Former Moreton Bay Regional Councillor Koliana Winchester and current City of Moreton Bay Councillor Karl Winchester were instrumental in making the new HMQS Gayundah memorial a reality. Seddon expressed heartfelt gratitude, saying, “We’re very grateful to Koliana and to Karl for what they have done to help us get the new memorial.
“It’s somewhere we can hold our remembrances like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.”
During the ceremony, the Naval Cadet Units TS Moreton Bay and TS Gayundah actively participated. The cadets gave a presentation about the Sydney and the Gayundah. There was the laying of wreaths, a prayer, and the national anthem.
Bruce Stanley, the association’s treasurer, reiterated their commitment to member welfare. “It’s all for the members.
“One of the best days is about doing the Bunnings sausage sizzle and talking to people about what we do. We were involved in their men’s health day too.”
Geoff O’Mara, the association’s secretary, stressed the significance of involving the Cadets in these events. “The memorial’s a place we can come to remember fellow veterans,” O’Mara remarked.
The memorial service took place at the Gayundah Arboretum at Woody Point on November 18. Redcliffe residents gathered in a solemn occasion, reflecting on the legacy of HMQS Gayundah and paying tribute to the brave individuals who served aboard the HMAS Sydney II.