HMAS Leeuwin

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HMAS Leeuwin.jpg
aerial view c1971

Brief History

At the outbreak of the Second World War the Depot was known as HMAS Cerberus V (a fender to Flinders Naval Depot). The Naval Control of Shipping Service was established on 1 Sep 1939 and a day later the Port War Signal Station on Rottnest Island was manned and mobilisation commenced. Examination Vessels Emerald and Zephyr commenced operations, and on 5 Jun 1940 the Italian MV Remo was seized.

The Croke Lane Depot was commissioned HMAS Leeuwin on 1st Aug 1940. During 1941-42 much development occurred, including the building of the depot at Preston Point to provide torpedo maintenance facilities for allied submarines and gunnery training for the Royal Australian Navy. This land had previously been partly WA Government Railway land along with Gallop’s farm on the Preston Point Road side. This was occupied on 1st July, 1942.

Between August 1942 and March 1946, the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club property at Keane’s Point was commissioned as HMAS Leeuwin II. This establishment had been commissioned to meet the requirements of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol which carried out harbour and coastal patrols from Fremantle. A number of new buildings were added to house personnel and for the care and maintenance of service craft. HMAS Leeuwin II decommissioned on 6 March 1946.

After the war and prior to Junior Recruit Training starting in 1960, the depot was mainly involved in the training of Reserves and National Servicemen. To this end the training ships HMA Ships Fremantle, Mildura and Junee were based in WA waters between 1951 and 1959. When the Naval Board decided to proceed with Junior Recruit training in 1959, HMAS Leeuwin which had existed in a semi-moribund state since the end of National Service in 1957 was their ultimate choice. By the end of 1959 HMAS Leeuwin once again began to take on the appearance of a naval establishment. In the short time available from January to July 1960, near miracles were performed in order to restore Leeuwin to a state fit to provide the necessary facilities for the accommodation and prescribed training of Junior Recruits.

On 18 July, 1960 the HMAS Leeuwin ceremonial gates were thrown open to receive the first 155 trainees. A total of 141 of that initial intake went on to graduate on 16 Jun 1961 in the first Passing Out Parade. The number of Junior Recruits under training grew steadily in the 1960s reaching 619 in 1965 and eventually peaking at just over 800 in the early 1970s. The largest recorded intake was the 50th in 1974 consisting of 276 entries of which 229 went on to graduate. A long term development plan for HMAS Leeuwin was commenced in 1965 in a sweeping rebuilding programme which saw virtually all the temporary structures replaced with modern buildings. The 1980s saw the decline of the Junior Recruit training scheme. A total of 13,340 Junior Recruit trainees entered HMAS Leeuwin between 1960 and 1984, of that number 12,074 graduated. Many have gone on to reach the senior ranks of the Royal Australian Navy.

Unit Personnel


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