During the early 1880s Queensland had established its own Navy with a fleet of 10 ships, with the most well known being ‘Gayundah’.
It was built in Newcastle-on-Tyne, in England and was first launched on its journey to Australia on 13 May, 1884. After 10 months of sailing, the ‘Gayundah’ finally arrived in Brisbane and became the Navy’s flagship.
As it was a vessel with a shallow draft, the ‘Gayundah’ was to protect the coast line by operating in the many bays and estuaries along the coast.
The ‘Gayundah’ was 36 metres long, 7 metres across the beam, had a top speed of 10 knots and weighed 360 tons. She was heavily armed with weapons for a ship of her size. Although she was fully equipped to handle any circumstance, the ‘Gayundah’ never engaged in heated battle with the enemy.
In 1903 she became the first warship within Australia to use wireless telegraphy.
In later years, the ‘Gayundah’ became a tender sea ship and a mine sweeper. By 1919 her services were not required by the Navy and she was sold to civilians. She was stripped and converted into a gravel barge
After 40 years of transporting gravel, the ‘Gayundah’ was considered to be of no further service and was towed to the base of the Woody Point cliffs and left to act as a breakwater. Over the years the salt water has taken its toll and now the ‘Gayundah’ is a rusted shell.
There is a commemorative plaque erected at the top of the Woody Point Cliffs just above her resting place.
One may consider this is a sad end to a once proud Queensland naval ship. However we can be assured, that the ‘Gayundah’ still protects the Australian shoreline from erosion.
A News item about the ‘Gayundah’ was published in the Redcliffe & Bayside Herald on June 4, 2008. (see image on left)