The remains of the HMQS Gayundah can be seen at the base of the Woody Point cliffs on the Redcliffe Peninsula.
The gunboat, said to be named after an Aboriginal word for lightening, was the first of Queensland's projected Navy. She was built for the Queensland Government by Sir William Armstrong Mitchell and Co. of Newcastle upon Tyne, at a cost of 35,000 pounds.
As a twin screw vessel (powered by two horizontal direct action compound steam engines) the Gayundah was designed for a maximum speed of 10 knots with the ability to a transport up to 75 tonnes of coal, allowing her to travel up to 1300 kilometres at a time.
The Gayundah arrived in Brisbane on 27th March, 1885. Her chief duty was the protection of the Queensland coastline and the vessel was fitted out with a 6 inch Armstrong gun protruding over the stern, an 8 inch breech loading 12 tonne gun, and 2 Nordenfeldt guns on the forecastle.
After Federation in 1902 the Gayundah was retained by the Australian Navy and used as a training ship. In the early 1900s she made history by being the first warship in Australia to operate wireless telegraphy successfully.
A structurally altered Gayundah acted as a guard-ship and patrol vessel during World War 1. She was sold in 1921 to Brisbane Gravel Pty Ltd and used as a sand and gravel barge on the Brisbane River. In 1958, Redcliffe Town Council (now Moreton Bay Regional Council) purchased the Gayundah and beached her in her current location to serve as a breakwater.
Until the time it is dismantled, it will continue to be a popular destination for tourism and the subject of many selfies #visitmoretonbayregion
If your travelling to the Australian Capital, be sure to drop into Canberra's Australian War Memorial. Located in the parklands around the Memorial's main buildings proudly stands the one and only 6 inch BL Gun from HMQS Gayundah.
Also on display inside the Australian War Memorial’s Colonial Galleries is a model of HMQS Gayundah (RELAWM07944.002). This model was acquired from Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd. in 1925 - it represents the Gayundah in its colonial colours.
The best source of information on the gunboat's fascinating history can be found on the Australian Navy website. The site includes images of the Gayundah and crew during her service in the Queensland Maritime Defence Force, along with photos of her being dry docked in 1914 to receive a new bow.
From Brisbane or Sunshine Coast by Car
Travel north on the Bruce Highway and take EXIT 133. Follow the signs along Anzac Avenue to Redcliffe (approximately 9km). Follow Hornibrook Esplanade to Woody Point. When you come to the end of Hornibrook Esplanade, turn right and then left onto Lilla Street at the roundabout. Go straight through the second roundabout and arrive on Gayundah Esplanade.
Safety warning: It is currently unsafe to access the Gayundah Wreck. Please keep off the wreck. Your safety is your responsibility.
HMQS Gayundah, Queensland, Australia
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