Memories of historic navy battle involving HMAS Sydney

Allan Woodward with a HMAS Sydney bosun's whistle. Allan is holding the whistle against a fruit bowl from the HMAS Sydney.
Allan Woodward with a HMAS Sydney bosun's whistle. Allan is holding the whistle against a fruit bowl from the HMAS Sydney. Robyne Cuerel

THE Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum is the proud owner of 100-year-old memorabilia from the HMAS Sydney, which defeated the German cruiser Emden in Australia's first naval victory.

Former navy navigator and director of the museum, Allan Woodward, said although no Fraser Coast men were on board the Sydney, the memorabilia was donated to keep the crew's memories alive.

A whistle and a fruit bowl were among the items donated to the museum.

"The whistle belonged to Bosun Percy Ross who served on the HMAS Sydney from 1913 to 1922 while the wooden fruit bowl was in the vessel during the attack," he said.

"The whistle was used to call for attention before notices were given over the speaker system. It was also blown to welcome and bid farewell to dignitaries on board."

Memorabilia also included items seized from the beached SMS Emden.

Mr Woodward said the attack on the Emden was very efficiently done and it came as a surprise to the Germans who were raiding a Cocos Islands wireless station.

"The attack was Australia's first navy mission in World War I which killed 134 of the Emden's crew members and wounded 69 others," he said.

Australia lost four men in the attack.

Years after the war ended, the ship made its way to Hervey Bay, stopping at Urangan on September 7, 1927 before it was scrapped.

Topics:  anzac hmas sydney maryborough maryborough military and colonial museum

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