From Our Contribution
Due to a variety of issues, construction of HMAS Voyager and her sister ships was delayed for several years, with costs escalating from £2.6 million to almost £7million each. They were the first in the Australian fleet to provide bunks instead of hammocks, and had high standard air conditioning. She was described as having the armaments normally seen in a Cruiser, and with two rudders she had much higher manoeuvrability that other ships of her size.
The first of a new class of ship, HMAS Voyager spent 11 months in Australian waters before undergoing a refit and then departing in January 1958 on a eight month deployment with the Far East Strategic Reserve, based in Singapore. Her return to Australia saw another refit, before another deployment to the Far East from March until late June 1959. A period of exercises off the east coast was followed by a visit to New Zealand filled in the rest of the year. In 1960 she exercised with US ship off the Philippines, and visited Singapore before returning toe Sydney in June for yet another refit.
The rotation of exercises off the Australian coast, with those where Australian ships joined with the American fleets in the Pacific continued each year, interspersed with leave and refits. HMAS Voyager spent considerable time with her fellow Daring Class boats and HMAS Melbourne.
In early 1964 HMAS Voyager emerged from another of her annual refits with a significant number of crew new to the ship. Working up exercises were planned prior to another south east Asian deployment. On 6 Feb 1964 HMAS Voyager sailed for the Jervis Bay exercise area, and after the weekend she and HMAS Melbourne sailed to conduct trials and exercises. That evening HMAS Voyager was acting as plane guard to the Melbourne as she conducted flying exercises. Following a horrific accident during the night time exercise, HMAS Voyager was rammed by HMAS Melbourne cutting the former in half. While the Melbourne only suffered material damage, 81 members of the Voyager's company, and 1 civilian dockyard employee lost their lives.
HMAS Voyager's armament included 6 x 4.5-inch Mk V gun in 3 twin turrets; 6 x 40mm Bofors in 3 twin mounts; Torpedoes 10 x 21-inch tubes; Other Armament 1 x triple-barreled 'Limbo' anti-submarine mortar.