HMAS Swan (I) (1916-1928)

HMAS Swan was built at the Cockatoo Island shipyard in Sydney Harbour and commissioned into the RAN in August 1916. In the same month Swan, accompanied by HMAS Torrens, sailed for British North Borneo where they joined Huon at the port of Sandakan. The three destroyers patrolled East Indies waters (around present-day Malaysia and Philippines) before transfer to the Mediterranean in May 1917. They were joined en route by their sister ships from the Australia Destroyer Flotilla, Yarra, Parramatta and Warrego.

After a short stay at Malta, the flotilla was based at Brindisi in Southern Italy to participate in 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 2 October 1918, Swan with Warrego, helped screen a force bombarding Durazzo. The two ships then assisted Japanese destroyers convoying troops from Egypt to Salonika. In December 1918, Swan carried out operations in the Black Sea, carrying a mission to Rostov and Novocherkassk, in Russia, after which her crew carried out anti-Bolshevik guard duties at Sevastopol.

With the rest of the flotilla, Swan visited England in early 1919 before returning to Australia in March. Now obsolete, she was placed in reserve. Swan was finally paid off in 1928 and dismantled the next year. Her hulk was towed to the Hawkesbury for use as convict accommodation but this decision was reversed by public outcry. She foundered in the Hawkesbury while being towed to a shipbreakers in 1931, and her hulk remains there today.



Class:   River Class destroyer
Launched:   11 December 1915
Commissioned:   16 August 1916
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 gun
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

Ship photograph

HMAS Swan (I) (1916-1928) 301378

Pendant Number(s)

  • 61


  • RAN: 2 dead

For more information please see the Roll of Honour, Wounded and Missing, First World War Nominal Roll and Embarkation Roll databases.


  • 1 MID

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

Collection Items

Search for related collection items


  • V. Cassells, The destroyers: their battles and their badges, (Sydney: Kangaroo Press, 2000).