Seaplane Carrier HMAS Albatross

Seaplane Carrier HMAS Albatross


The RAN’s first ship specifically designed to carry aircraft, HMAS Albatross, was built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard and commissioned in January 1929. Initially there was no catapult, and the launch and recovery of her Seagull III aircraft required the use of the ship’s crane.

After work-up, the Albatross joined the Fleet but the economic depression saw her paid off into Reserve in 1933, and used as an operating base for sea planes visiting Sydney Harbour. After two years in Reserve, work began to bring Albatross back to operational status, including the fitting of a rotating aircraft catapult. Catapult trials in Sydney used new Seagull V seaplanes.

Negotiations in 1938 led to an agreement to transfer ownership of the Albatross to the Royal Navy, as part payment for a new cruiser. Albatross left Sydney on 11 July 1933, escorted by a flight of Seagull V amphibians.

Commissioned: 23 January 1929
Displacement: 6,000 tons, full load
Aircraft: designed for 9 Seagull III amphibians
Crew: 32 officers and 310 ratings, plus 6 RAAF officers and 24 airmen
Engine: Two sets Parsons single reduction geared turbines, two shafts, 109,000 shp (max continuous)
Speed: 21 knots
Range: 12,150 miles at 10 knots
Transferred: to Royal Navy in 1933
Into RN Reserve: 1938