Thursday 6 February 2014 by Lenore Heath. 9 comments
Collection Highlights, News, Royal Australian Navy


Monday 10 February 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of a momentous event in Royal Australian Navy (RAN) history, the loss of the destroyer HMAS Voyager II following a collision with the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne II

With many new crew members aboard, HMAS Voyager sailed from Sydney to Jervis Bay on 6 February 1964 for a series of post re-fit trials and exercises with HMAS Melbourne. On the night of 10 February the Melbourne was conducting night flying exercises off the coast of Jervis Bay, with the Voyager undertaking the role of guard escort. It was a moonless night and both ships had only navigational and operational lights in use. 

At 8.56pm the ships collided and the Voyager was cut in two. Her forward section passed down the Melbourne’s port side and the after section down the starboard side. The forward section sank soon after the collision and the after section some three hours later. The crew of the Melbourne recovered survivors from the water and the after section of the Voyager. Two RAN search and rescue boats, HMAS Air Nymph and HMAS Air Sprite, set out from shore establishment HMAS Creswell, and the crews succeeded in rescuing 70 men. RAN helicopters and minesweepers were also dispatched to assist with the search for survivors. Of the 314 men aboard HMAS Voyager, 82 died; 14 officers (including the commanding officer), 67 sailors and one civilian dock worker. 



 The Memorial holds a significant collection of photographs of this incident taken by RAN photographers. After the immediate impact of the collision, HMAS Melbourne photographers hurriedly grabbed cameras and photographed the after section of the Voyager and the rescue efforts. Other photographs record injured and shocked survivors being cared for on the Melbourne, activities aboard the aircraft carrier in light of day and the major damage to the bow of the Melbourne.



You can view more photographs related to this event here in the Collection area of the Memorial’s website.


william tweedie

i will never forget the collision with my family we were on holidays in a caravan at port macquarie the impact on me was horrific i grew up with one of the crew on hmas melbourne .he was tramatised as he found out later in life,

Vicky Taylor

This disaster destroyed by brother's life. He was on the HMAS Melbourne on his first watch ever, he had just turned 17 (by 4 only days). He witnessed death and destruction. Told to go and get drunk and get over it then come back! He never ever recovered and on that fateful night and I lost a brother to another place. He recently passed at the early age of 66. RIP Trevor Taylor xx

john cracknell

I did not know these photos were taken I shall never forget that night I lost friends I join up with,, I can still remember as if it was yesterday I had just come of watch when it happened then we had to leave at least I made it home for my brothers 21st as promised

Jenny Jones

Where can I find the list of the sailors killed in the collision between HMAS Voyager and Melbourne in February, 1964 please. I think I remember one or two sailors who were killed, they were John Ingram and William (Bill) Ingram from Newmarket Street, Northcote, Victoria. I have been searching for the brother. The family lived near us.

Lenore Heath says:

A list of names of those who died and other information about the sinking of HMAS Voyager can be found on the RAN's Sea Power website

margaret roberts (nee ) ramage

i would like a list of the brave sailors that lost their lives on board the voyager that night as my father was a sailer and was on the voyager as a sailor but not that night but my godfather was on board that night and never returned home it would mean a lot to me thankyou

Les (Webmaster)

You are welcome to visit the website I maintain and email me from the link on the bottom of the home page if you require additional information which I may be able to supply. On the Website I maintains a Vale page and keep it up to date as much as possible by people supplying me the necessary information.


My husband was on the Voyager and has never faced up to his feelings. I want him to go to the reunion and meet up with others. Is there one in Canberra on the 10th?


The Scrap Iron Flotilla Association has arranged a Service at 1000, Tuesday 10FEB15 in the Sanctuary, Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne to commemorate the loss of life when HMAS VOYAGER sunk subsequent to a collision with HMAS MELBOURNE.