HMAS Kuttabul (naval base)

HMAS Kuttabul is a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base located in Potts Point in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Kuttabul provides administrative, training, logistics and accommodation support to naval personnel assigned to the various facilities that form Fleet Base East, the main operational navy base on the east coast of Australia.[1][2] A part of Fleet Base East itself, Kuttabul occupies several buildings in the Sydney suburb of Potts Point and in the immediately adjacent Garden Island dockyard. It also supports navy personnel posted to other locations throughout the greater Sydney region.[1]

The base is named for the steam ferry HMAS Kuttabul that was sunk while docked at Garden Island during a Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour in 1942.

HMAS Kuttabul
Part of Fleet Base East
Potts Point, Sydney, New South Wales in Australia
Garden Island, New South Wales
Fleet Base East
HMAS Kuttabul
Crest of HMAS Kuttabul
HMAS Kuttabul is located in Sydney
HMAS Kuttabul
HMAS Kuttabul
Location in Greater Sydney
Coordinates33°51′45″S 151°13′36″E / 33.86250°S 151.22667°ECoordinates: 33°51′45″S 151°13′36″E / 33.86250°S 151.22667°E
TypeNaval base
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defence
Operator Royal Navy (1856–1911);
 Royal Australian Navy (1911–1967);
 Royal Australian Navy (1967 – present)
Site history
In use1856 – present
Battles/warsAttack on Sydney Harbour
Garrison information
Commander Todd Wilson, RAN


Garden Island itself has been host to a naval base since 1856, when the government of New South Wales suggested giving the area over to the Royal Navy as a base for ships serving on the Australia Station. Following the foundation of the Royal Australian Navy in 1911, all naval establishments were given over by the UK to the RAN. However, until 1939, the ownership of Garden Island itself was in dispute, with NSW claiming it as its property. This was solved when the Australian government initially requisitioned the island (together with the naval base) under emergency wartime powers. The government then purchased Garden Island from NSW for £638,000 in 1945.

The Garden Island facility houses the Captain Cook Graving Dock which was, at the time of construction during World War II, the largest graving dock in the Southern Hemisphere.[3] The dock was constructed between 1940 and 1945, by filling in the area between Garden Island and Potts Point. The dock and associated dockyard are operated under lease by Thales Australia. The northern tip of Garden Island is as of 2008 open to the public, accessible only by ferry. The area features the Navy Heritage Centre, opened in 2004, and graffiti dating to the First Fleet in 1788.

From its foundation until the establishment of the Two Ocean Policy and commissioning of HMAS Stirling in 1978, Kuttabul was the RAN's main naval base. With the establishment of two main bases, Kuttabul and Garden Island took on the additional designation of Fleet Base East.

Facilities and operational units

Although Kuttabul is the main administrative part of Fleet Base East, Fleet Base East is also responsible for the Mine Counter Measures forces of the RAN stationed on the east coast. These are based at HMAS Waterhen.

Ships stationed


HMAS Tobruk (L 50)

HMAS Tobruk alongside at Fleet Base East in 2013

Garden Island, New South Wales (1)

RSS Endeavour visiting Garden Island during the International Fleet Review 2013

Garden Island, New South Wales (2)

Captain Cook Dock, Garden Island

See also


  1. ^ a b Royal Australian Navy. "HMAS Kuttabul".
  2. ^ Royal Australian Navy. "Fleet Base East".
  3. ^ Naval Historical Society of Australia. "Captain Cook Graving Dock » NHSA".
Garden Island (New South Wales)

Garden Island is an inner-city locality of Sydney, Australia, and the location of a major Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base. It is located to the north-east of the Sydney central business district and juts out into Port Jackson, immediately to the north of the suburb of Potts Point. Used for government and naval purposes since the earliest days of the colony of Sydney, it was originally a completely-detached island but was joined to the Potts Point shoreline by major land reclamation work during World War II.

Garden Island today forms a major part of the RAN's Fleet Base East. It includes active dockyards (including the Captain Cook Graving Dock), naval wharves and a naval heritage and museum precinct. Approximately half of the major fleet units of the RAN use the wharves as their home port.

The northern tip of Garden Island is open to the public and contains the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre museum and an outdoor heritage precinct. Immediately south and above Garden Island on the Potts Point ridgeline is HMAS Kuttabul, the RAN's major administrative, training and logistics support establishment for the Sydney area. Although HMAS Kuttabul is administratively a separate facility to Garden Island, the two names are often referred to interchangeably.

Garden Island Naval Precinct

The Garden Island Naval Precinct is a heritage-listed naval base and defence precinct located at Cowper Wharf Roadway in the inner eastern Sydney neighbourhood of Garden Island in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The precinct was built from 1856. It includes the HMAS Kuttabul naval base, formerly known as HMAS Penguin. The property is owned by Australian Department of Defence. It was added to the Commonwealth Heritage List on 22 June 2004 and the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 12 November 2004.

HMAS Kuttabul

One ship and one shore establishment of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) have been named HMAS Kuttabul.

HMAS Kuttabul (ship), a former harbour ferry acquired during World War II for use as an accommodation ship. Kuttabul was sunk by torpedo during the 1942 Japanese submarine attack on Sydney Harbour.

HMAS Kuttabul (naval base), a naval base at Garden Island, New South Wales which was renamed in 1943 in honour of the accommodation ship, is the primary East Coast base of the RAN.

HMAS Tarakan (L3017)

HMAS Tarakan (L3017) was a Mark III Tank Landing Ship, or LST(3), that served in the Royal Navy (RN) during 1945 and 1946 and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 1946 until 1954.


Kuttabul may refer to:

HMAS Kuttabul (naval base)

HMAS Kuttabul (ship)

Kuttabul, Queensland

Current bases
Former bases
Barracks, batteries, bunkers and forts, Sydney and surrounds
City of Sydney
Greater Western and South Western Sydney
La Perouse, Malabar and Clovelly
Mosman and Manly
Watsons Bay, Vaucluse and North Bondi
City of Wollongong
See also
United Kingdom Current and historic Royal Navy shore establishments
Former Home
Former Overseas


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