Merchant Ships of Australia in World War 2

Australian military units first deployed in 1885, to the Sudan and then in 1899 to 1902 to the Boer War. The Great War 1914-1919 and the Second World War 1939-1945 followed, both with, for the first time, selective then heavy demands on merchant shipping fleets. They came at times when Australia's emergent maturity was apparent. Increasingly its commercial interests and their merchant fleets rose with traditional determination, perseverance and quiet bravery in striving for the objectives, on both the fighting and the home fronts, of the nation's victory in war and a return to their peacetime pursuits, 'occupying their business in great waters'.

In decades since, the advances in technology, particularly in aviation, and the reduced size of wars have lessened the present and perhaps potential call for merchant shipping in emergencies. But nothing should dim the contributions of seafarers in the dark days of the 20th Century's world wars.

Australia, the nation continent, should remember its history. This site tells of the nation's conversion of its shipping resources, some two hundred vessels including major fishing vessels, from peacetime pursuits to what should be a much-valued element of the nation's Second World War participation, more particularly in the Battle for Australia period 1942-1943. In this website, brief notes on individual ships called for particular wartime duty and others which became casualties are linked with their owner companies' outline histories.

The sacrifices of its Merchant Navy personnel and their part in ensuring the freedoms Australians enjoy today are great and must not be forgotten.