Historical information

In 1940, German minefields were laid in east and west Bass Strait which quickly claimed merchant ships Cambridge (British) and the City of Rayville (American). HMAS Goorangai had finished mine sweeping duties and after resupply was crossing from Queenscliff to Point Nepean to seek better anchorage due to impending bad weather. At around 20:30 on the 20th of November 1940 the 10,400-ton MV Duntroon was transiting the South Channel on her way to Sydney from Perth via Melbourne carrying 65 passengers and general and perishable cargo. It struck HMAS Goorangai forward of the funnel on the port side and cut her in two. At about 20:45 HMAS Goorangai sank in less than a minute resulting in the loss of her whole ship’s company, a complement of 24 officers and sailors.


HMAS Goorangai was the first Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship lost in WWII, the first RAN surface ship lost in wartime, and the first RAN surface ship lost with all hands. A memorial cairn was erected at Queenscliff in 1981 and a service of commemoration is held there every year.

Physical description

A severely damaged and corroded aluminium teapot recovered from the wreck of HMAS Goorangai