Historical information

Reproduction of HMAS Sydney in Korean waters launching Hawker Sea Fury fighters. Sydney was a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was built for the Royal Navy and but was not completed before the end of World War II. The carrier was sold to Australia in 1947, completed and commissioned into the RAN as Sydney in 1948. From late 1951 to early 1952, she operated off the coast of Korea during the Korean War, making her the first carrier in the RAN, to see wartime service. The donor served on board HMAS Sydney during the Korean War.


HMAS Sydney was the first of three conventional aircraft carriers to serve in the RAN, and operated as the navy's flagship during the early part of her career. Retasked as a training vessel following the 1955 arrival of her modernised sister ship, HMAS Melbourne, Sydney remained in service until 1958, when she was placed in reserve as surplus to requirements. The need for a sealift capability saw the ship modified for service as a fast troop transport, and recommissioned in 1962. In 1965, she sailed on the first voyage to Vũng Tàu, transporting soldiers and equipment to serve in the Vietnam War. 25 voyages to Vietnam were made between 1965 and 1972, earning the ship the nickname "Vung Tau Ferry". Sydney was decommissioned in 1973, and was not replaced.

Physical description

Brown timber frame containing blue poster with image of ship and plane at sea

Inscriptions & markings

HMAS Sydney in Korean waters 1951-1952 Painting by Roy Honisett, courtesy Australian War Memorial Royal Australian Navy 75th Anniversary