H.M.A.S. Sydney I Memorial MastPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The H.M.A.S. Sydney I Memorial Mast commemorates those who served in the Royal Australian Navy and those ships which were lost in service. The mast was restored and rededicated on the 2nd October 2013. The restoration was part of the upgrade works to the Bradley Head precinct.

In 1934 the Mayor of Mosman purchased the mast (at Commonwealth expense) and erected it astride the nationally significant 1839 defence fortifications at Bradleys Head as a memorial to those who died in the Emden action. The idea for the installation of the mast came from local resident Norman Ellison, who proposed its dedication coincide with a visit by the Duke of Gloucester in November 1934.

On Thursday 12th November 1964 the HMAS Sydney I mast was dedicated as an official memorial to the memory of those who served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the nineteen naval ships lost in service. On 26 June 2007 the Royal Australian Navy announced that a new naval tradition would commence that day requiring all Australian and foreign naval vessels proceeding into Sydney Harbour to render ceremonial honours to the HMAS Sydney I Memorial Mast. The ceremony consists of bringing the ship's company on the upper decks to attention, and then 'piping' the Mast.

The tripod mast of The H.M.A.S. Sydney, which was recently purchased by the Mosman Municipal Council as  a memorial, was placed in position at Bradley's Head today, and will be officially unveiled November 24 during the Sydney visit of the Duke of Gloucester.
The Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW), 24th October 1934.  

HMAS Sydney I is recognised as one of the most distinguished Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warships of World War One. It was a Chatham Class light cruiser built in Glasgow, Scotland and delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in 1913. In October 1914, after spending the first period of the war in New Guinea and Pacific waters, HMAS Sydney I began escort duties off the West Australian Coast accompanying the first Australian troop ship to the Middle East. On 9 November 1914 HMAS Sydney I was called away from the escort to investigate an SOS from Direction Island in the Cocos Keeling Islands group. This resulted in a victorious engagement with the German raider Emden which saw Emden eventually run aground on Keeling Island. This victory marked the Royal Australian Navy's first ship to ship engagement and its first victory.



Address:Bradleys Head Road, Bradleys Head Fort, Mosman, 2088
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.853488
Long: 151.246264
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Technology
Monument Theme:Conflict


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 24th November, 1934
Front Inscription

Plaque :

The Petty Officers And Men
Who Were Killed In The Action
Against ` S.M.S. Emden`
Keeling Island Near Cocos Island
On November 9th 1914.
Petty Officer.         P Lynch.
Able Seaman.       R Sharp.
Able Seaman.        A Hoy.
Ordinary Seaman.  R Bell.

Plaque :

November 24th 1934

Municipality of Mosman
Ashton Park Trust

D Carroll Mayor.
Col` Alfred Spain V.D. Chairman.

Plaque :

Foremast From The First Ship
To Bear The Name
HMAS Sydney.

Restored And Re-Dedicated On 29th January 1993 following a public appeal, launched by Rear Admiral D. G. Holthouse AO RAN Naval Support Commander

Restoration work carried out by Transfield in consultation with National Trust of Australia (NS) and National Parks and Wildlife Service

Back Inscription

To commemorate the "Sydney - Emden" action, the first engagement at sea during the Great War in which a ship of the Royal Australian Navy took part, off Cocos Island 9th November 1914

And in glorious memory of 

Petty Officer  T. Lynch            Able Seaman A. Hoy. 
Able Seaman A. R. Sharpe    Ordinary Seaman R. W. Bell.

This mast from H.M.A.S. "Sydney" was erected on this spot and formally instituted as a permanent memorial of the 24th Nov. 1934 in the sight of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester who passed at that moment in H.M.A.S. "Stuart" and in the presence of

The Mayor and Aldermen of Mosman
Representatives of the three fighting services and guards furnished by them
The survivors of the "Sydney - Emden" action
The R. S. and S. I. League of Australia
The Ex-service men of the District, and many other well known citizens of N.S.W. and their children.

The mast was purchased and presented by the R.S. and S. I. League of Australa (N.S.W. Branch) by Mr William Rankin of Toowooma, Q` Land.

It was erected at the joint expense of the Commenwealth Defence Department, the Municipality of Mosman, the Cockatoo Dock and Engineering Company, and the Sydney Harbour Trust.

The following authoritiers also co-operated in the erection of this memorial by their encouragement and support : -

The Katoomba, Leura, Mascot, and Mosman Sub-branches of the R.S. & S. I. League,  The Ex-Naval Men`s Association, the Trustees of the Aston Park Trust, and the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Right Side Inscription

Floodlighting Of This Historic Mast And
The Flying Of The National Flag Are
Dedicated To All Ships And Sailors
Lost In The Defence Of Australia

The Lights Were Turned On By
The Hon. John Howard, MP,
Prime Minister Of Australia

The Flag Was Broken By
Rear Admiral John Lord, AM, RAN,
Maritime Commander Australia

Dedicated By
Principal Chaplain, Garath Clayton, RANR

14th June 2000

The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP
Minister For Employment 
Member for Warringah

Warringah Australia Remembers Trust 
Clr Tim Reid, Chairman 

Mosman R.S.L. Sub-Branch 
Mr Howard Halsted, President

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au