Yarra was the second vessel laid down for the Australian Commonwealth Naval Forces. Built in the United Kingdom and commissioned in September 1910, she reached Australia in November 1910, in the company of her sister ship HMAS Parramatta.

Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, Yarra took part in operations against the German Pacific colonies. She landed men as part of the force ordered to take the German wireless station at Bitapaka. Yarra subsequently carried out further patrol operations in New Guinea waters in company with Parramatta and Warrego. In December, Yarra guarded the mouth of the Sepik River while the other destroyers, Parramatta, and Warrego, in company with the tender Nusa steamed 310 kilometre up-river to check for any German presence.

Yarra returned to Australia in February 1915 and was employed on patrol work locally, and in Malayan, Philippines and East Indies waters. In May 1917, in company with Warrego and Parramatta, she sailed for the Mediterranean, being joined en route by Swan, Torrens and Huon, thus concentrating the Australian Destroyer Flotilla.

After a brief stop in Malta, the flotilla proceeded to the port of Brindisi in southern Italy. From October 1917, the flotilla spent much of the following year conducting patrols as part of the blockade of the Adriatic Sea, which was aimed at preventing the passage of enemy submarines and warships sailing from Austrian ports into the Mediterranean. In April 1918 the Australian Destroyer Flotilla was incorporated into the 5th British Destroyer Flotilla.

On 16 November 1917, Yarra and the flotilla stood by the torpedoed Italian transport Orione in the Adriatic - Yarra assisting Parramatta to tow the transport. On 8 August 1918, Yarra collided with Huon and was docked at Livorno for two months for repair. When the war ended in November 1918, Yarra was assisting Japanese destroyers to convoy troopships to Salonika. She subsequently operated in the Black Sea, with Torrens, in December 1918.

After a visit to England the Australian Destroyer Flotilla returned to Australia. Now obsolete, Yarra was laid up until 1929, when she was sunk off Port Jackson.
ReferencesV. Cassells, The destroyers: their battles and their badges, (Sydney: Kangaroo Press, 2000).
Related place Bitapaka
Related conflicts First World War, 1914-1918
Related events
Commanding officers
DecorationsRAN personnel; 1 MID; RN personnel; 2 MID
Subjects Destroyers
Alternative names
  • HMAS Yarra
  • HMAS Yarra (1910-1928)
Unit hierarchy
Pendant Number79
SpecificationsClass: River Class torpedo boat destroyer; Launched: 9 April 1910; Commissioned: 8 September 1910; Complement: 66; Length: 250 feet [76.2m]; Beam: 24 feet 6 inches [7.46m]; Draught: 9 feet [2.74m]; Displacement: 700 tons; Speed: 26 knots; Armament: 1 x 4-inch guns; 3 x 12-pounder guns; 3 x 18-inch torpedo tubes; 4 x depth charge chutes (added 1917); 2 x depth charge throwers (added 1918); Armour: not applicable