On Saturday the 13th May 1939 at 11.30am, the Blue Funnel freighter AUTOLYCUS left No.2 Wharf Circular Quay, Sydney for England carrying part of the new crew for HMAS PERTH

On the 16 May the COMORIN sailed from Melbourne with more crew members followed by RMS ORMONDE on the 23rd May.  Many of the men had previously served on HMAS ADELAIDE.

The Blue Funnel Line freighter AUTOLYCUS passes HMAS CANBERRA as she leaves Sydney with PERTH's new crew.


                HMAS PERTH commissioned in June 1939 under the command of Capt. H.B.Farncomb MVO.  The 10th July was to be the day of the renaming ceremony.  The weather was rather windy and AMPHION was moved from her berth at Portsmouth and tied up at the South Railway Jetty at 8am.  The morning was spent in readying the ship for the official ceremony and rehearsals.  The  Coat of Arms of the city of Perth was slung between the barrels of 'Y' turret and the name "HMAS PERTH" placed underneath.  This was covered by the Union Jack and the name "HMS AMPHION".

HMS AMPHION awaiting the Duchess of Kent
Duchess of Kent boards the ship

  At 1.15 the dignitaries arrived and went to lunch in the Captain's cabin. At 2.15pm the the ships' company fell in on  the wharf  and soon after HRH, The Duchess of Kent arrived.   The ship was renamed by HRH at 2.55pm.  As the name was unveiled lifebuoys bearing the ship's new name were slung into place. After a few speeches and a presentation , the Duchess of Kent departed at 3.05pm.

Lifebuoy bearing PERTH's name hung in place.

Coat of Arms mounted between guns of 'Y' Turret

The ship's band plays on the Quarterdeck as the name AMPHION is removed to reveal PERTH.


Aerial photo
South Railway Jetty

HMAS PERTH spent the rest of the month in trials in the Solent off the Isle of  Wight and on the 26th July sailed from Portsmouth for New York.  

HMAS Perth
10.7.39 to 5.6.40



PERTH arrived at New York on the 4th August 1939. It was a stifling day with  80 deg. heat.  The ship berthed at Pier 53 opposite Little W 12th St. at 8.30am.  That day, being the Queen's birthday, the ship was dressed overall.

Several clubs were opened to the crew and admission to Radio City Music Hall was free.  On the 9th August, an open day was held onboard for locals and over 450 people visited the ship.    Friday 11th August was Australia Day at the New York World Fair and a contingent from the ship was present  at the official ceremony outside the Australian Pavillion.

PERTH Contingent at the New York World Fair - Australia Day


Polishing the ship's bell in New York


On the 16th August at 12.15pm, PERTH departed New York for the West Indies.

* AUTOLYCUS was sunk in the Bay of Bengal on 6th April,1942 by the Japanese cruisers
and KUMANO and the destroyer SHIRAKUMO.

** ORMONDE Scrapped 1952

*** COMORIN caught fire off Sierra Leone in the Nth Atlantic on 6th April 1941 and was sunk
the next day by HMS Lincoln.

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