HMAS Bendigo (FCPB 211)

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Name: HMAS Bendigo
Namesake: City of Bendigo, Victoria
Builder: North Queensland Engineers and Agents
Laid down: 21 September 1981
Launched: 9 April 1983
Commissioned: 28 May 1983
Decommissioned: 9 September 2006
Homeport: HMAS Cairns
Motto: "Advance with Purpose"
Honours and
Three inherited battle honours
Status: Scrapped
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class and type: Fremantle-class patrol boat
Displacement: 220 tons
Length: 137.6 ft (41.9 m)
Beam: 25.25 ft (7.70 m)
Draught: 5.75 ft (1.75 m)
Propulsion: 2 MTU series 538 diesel engines, 3,200 shp (2,400 kW), 2 propellers
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph)
Complement: 22
  • One general purpose 40/60 mm Bofors gun
  • Two 12.7 mm machine guns
  • One 81 mm mortar (removed later)

HMAS Bendigo (FCPB 211) was a Fremantle-class patrol boat serving in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Design and construction[edit]

Starting in the late 1960s, planning began for a new class of patrol boat to replace the Attack class, with designs calling for improved seakeeping capability, and updated weapons and equipment.[1] The Fremantles had a full load displacement of 220 tonnes (220 long tons; 240 short tons), were 137.6 feet (41.9 m) long overall, had a beam of 24.25 feet (7.39 m), and a maximum draught of 5.75 feet (1.75 m).[2] Main propulsion machinery consisted of two MTU series 538TB91 V16 diesel engines, which supplied 3,200 shaft horsepower (2,400 kW) to the two propeller shafts.[2] Exhaust was not expelled through a funnel, like most ships, but through vents below the waterline.[3]

The patrol boat could reach a maximum speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph), and had a maximum range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph).[2] The ship's company consisted of 22 personnel;[2] each patrol boat was armed with a single 40 mm Bofors gun as main armament, supplemented by two .50 cal Browning machineguns and an 81-mm mortar,[2] although the mortar was removed from all ships sometime after 1988.[citation needed] The main weapon was originally to be two 30-mm guns on a twin-mount, but the reconditioned Bofors were selected to keep costs down; provision was made to install an updated weapon later in the class' service life, but this did not eventuate.[3][4]

Bendigo was laid down by North Queensland Engineers and Agents at Cairns, Queensland on 21 September 1981, launched on 9 April 1983, and commissioned on 28 May 1983.[5]

Operational history[edit]

Bendigo operated out of HMAS Cairns, and spent the majority of her career protecting Australia's northern borders.[6]

On 12 November 1998, Bendigo grounded on submerged rocks near Michaelmas Cay, 20 miles north of Cairns, while carrying 45 passengers for a Family Day cruise.[7] There were no casualties and only minor damage to the patrol boat, which was refloated 35 minutes after the grounding, with the help of an Australian Volunteer Coast Guard boat.[7]

On 16 July 1985, Bendigo became the first patrol boat to circumnavigate Australia.[8]


Bendigo was decommissioned on 9 September 2006;[6] the patrol boat was broken up for scrap in Darwin during 2006 and 2007, at a cost of $450,000 to the Australian government.[9]


  1. ^ Mitchell, Farewell to the Fremantle class, p. 105
  2. ^ a b c d e Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 89
  3. ^ a b Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 88
  4. ^ Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 222
  5. ^ Moore, Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86, p. 26
  6. ^ a b "HMAS Bendigo (II)". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b Gillett, Ross (January – March 1999). "HMAS Bendigo Grounding" (PDF). 61 (1): 18. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  8. ^ "On This Day". Naval Historical Society of Australia. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  9. ^ Australian National Audit Office (5 February 2015), Management of the Disposal of Specialist Military Equipment (Report), Government of Australia, p. 62, retrieved 24 April 2015


  • Gillett, Ross (1988). Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946. Brookvale, NSW: Child & Associates. ISBN 0-86777-219-0. OCLC 23470364.
  • Jones, Peter (2001). "Towards Self Reliance". In Stevens, David (ed.). The Royal Australian Navy; the Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555542-2. OCLC 50418095.
  • Mitchell, Brett (2007). "Farewell to the Fremantle Class". In Forbes, Andrew; Lovi, Michelle (eds.). Australian Maritime Issues 2006 (PDF). Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. Sea Power Centre - Australia. ISBN 0-642-29644-8. ISSN 1327-5658. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
    • The chapter is available separately as Semaphore, Issue 17, 2005 in PDF and HTML formats.
  • Moore, John, ed. (1985). Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-7106-0814-4.

External links[edit]