While escorting the first convoy of ANZAC troops bound for Europe on 9 November 1914 the Royal Australian Navy light cruiser HMAS Sydney engaged the infamous German commerce raider SMS Emden. The two light cruisers fought a 90 minute battle. The Emden’s guns had more range and fired first, but Sydney’s more powerful main guns pounded the Emden until it was disabled and beached on North Keeling Island. The Royal Australian Navy’s first great test of war ended in a comprehensive victory.
The exhibition 'Test of War - Royal Australian Navy in WW1
will open at the Australian National Maritime Museum 12 September 2014 and run until May 2015.
This photograph is believed to depict the Royal Australian Navy light cruiser, HMAS SYDNEY I, moored in Sydney Harbour after the vessel's maiden voyage to Australia in 1913. A newspaper article describes the scene of the Australian fleet at night:
'The flagship Australia, with its thousand electric lights, was the centre of the picture, a thing of dazzling beauty.... the Australia and all of them burst into light, their lines, from hull to fore, and mainmast, picked out with countless electric lights. It was a veritable blaze of splendour.'
('Warships Illuminated', The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 1913)
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Object number: ANMS0823
Owner: Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons