A memorial to the Australian and US submariners who were based at
the Capricorn Wharf at Teneriffe during World War II marks the
beginning of the Submariners' Walk Heritage Trail along the Brisbane
River where the submarines used to dock. Along the trail, between
Hastings and Beetson Streets, are plaques and seats commemorating the
men, the ships and their service during WWII.
Five of the US submarines that left Teneriffe to go on patrol never
came back - lost with all their crew. USS Growler, part of the US sub
fleet based here, was involved in action against a Japanese convoy when
it collided with the convoy's escort Hayasaki, almost sinking the sub.
After the collision the Japanese ship opened fire on Growler, wounding
her commanding officer Howard W Gilmore and killing two others.
Selflessly Gilmore gave the order for the submarine to dive, even
though he was unable to get off the bridge into the vessel. The boat
submerged and Gilmore perished, but Growler was able to return to
Brisbane for repair.Gilmore was posthumously awarded the Medal of
Honor, becoming the first submariner to receive that award.
About seventy US submarines used the Capricorn Wharf for maintenance
and repairs during the war, and for the last three months of 1942 there
were as many US submarines operating from Brisbane as from Pearl
Harbor. About 800 US service personnel were involved at Capricorn Wharf
and there were further men and women at the store depot at Windsor. In
addition, Archbishop Duhig's Benedict Stone factory was acquired for
torpedo maintenance and storage. The walkway along the river is now a
beautiful and peaceful place, used by cyclists, runners, walkers and
Capricorn wharf was built between 1907 - 1909. After WW2 it changed
names a number of times as it changed owners. It was called
Capricorn-New Wharf in 1965 when Capricorn Stevedores leased the
wharves. It was purchased by Dalgety Wharves in 1968. The Royal
Australian Navy purchased the wharves in 1982 and it became known as
HMAS Moreton North. The area was purchased by the Brisbane City Council
in 1988 and was then renamed as Capricorn Wharf to avoid confusion with
the nearby HMAS Moreton.
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HMAS Moreton Naval Base
HMAS Moreton naval base was opened in 1932 as HMAS Penguin IV and on
1 August 1940 it was renamed as HMAS Brisbane. The base was again
renamed HMAS Moreton in 1942. The base was located at the corner of
Merthyr Road and Gray Street, in New Farm, Brisbane and had its own
wharves, warehouse buildings and assembly areas.
Post Vietnam the base was home to the Royal Australian Navy's
amphibious forces including HMAS Tobruk and the Balikpapan class
landing craft. For much of this time much of the army's amphibious
capacity was based locally. Gallipoli Barracks based 6th Battalion,
Royal Australian Regiment was Australia's lead amphibious assault unit
whilst 35 Water Transport Squadron was based at Bulimba Barracks,
Brisbane, Queensland with LCM.
HMAS Moreton was decommissioned in 1994 and many of its services
relocated to Bulimba Barracks under the authority of Naval Headquarters
Southern Queensland. Naval amphibious forces are currently based at
HMAS Kuttabul. The site of the former base has been transformed into