All ships wishing to visit the city of Melbourne, must pass through the Heads which are the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. On either side of this narrow passage from Bass Strait to the Bay, sit two townships.
From seaward, on your starboard hand is Portsea, and on the port side is Queenscliff, here, in a small park, overlooking the Heads, are located a number of Memorial Blue Stone Cairns, each is topped with a Plaque recording a specific Maritime event. One such Cairn, is in memory of a small mine sweeping vessel HMAS Goorangai, run down by the Troop Ship Duntroon, and lost with all hands on the 20th. of November 1940. She carried a crew of 24.
As no Memorial existed to honour the Wartime service of Australia's seven cruisers, the Committee of the HMAS Canberra/HMAS Shropshire Association, decided to remedy this omission.
We prepared a submission to the Commonwealth Department of Veteran Affairs, enclosed our plan, and a quote for this work. Our initiative was rewarded with their approval and a grant to cover the total cost.
We let the contract, and the Cairn has been erected, it is topped by a Brass Plaque bearing the details of our seven Wartime Royal Australian Navy Cruisers, three of them heavy 8 inch gun ships, and four light 6 inch gun ships. It will be dedicated on Sunday the 17th. of November 2002.
The plaque is surrounded by a rope embellishment, and the heading reads:
"THEIR SERVICE BADGE OF R.A.N. OUR HERITAGE."
The complete text of this plaque is reproduced later in this article, and two photographs illustrate the Blue Stone Cairn, which now records the deeds of these seven ships and the wartime crews who manned and fought them so valiantly and proudly.
As President of the Canberra/Shropshire Association, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the outstanding efforts of my Treasurer, Ron Strachan, who was basically instrumental in achieving our aim, to erect such a Memorial to these fine ships. My thanks to Ron and all members of my Committee, the fruition of your labours is visible on the foreshore at Queenscliff for all to see.
Memorial Cairn at Queenscliff
Pictures of the Memorial Cairn at Queenscliff