HMAS Sydney – key documents online

Media release: Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The recent discovery of the HMAS Sydney has resulted in renewed interest in the National Archives' records of the disaster.

To provide easy access to some of the documents surrounding the loss of the ship on 19 November 1941 the National Archives of Australia has created an online showcase of key records.

With many of them labelled 'secret' and 'most secret', they provide a glimpse into the challenges that faced the war chiefs of the time.

The online documents include:

  • a secret report from the Chief of the Naval Staff summarising concerns about the location of the Sydney on 24 November 1941
  • a report of the search for the overdue Sydney and the rescue of 25 of the Kormoran's crew – a handwritten note advised 'the above must be kept most secret'
  • the first formal advice to the Prime Minister that the Sydney was believed lost on 25 November 1941
  • handwritten notes and official minutes of the war cabinet meeting in Melbourne on 4 December
  • instructions issued by Commander of the Australian Squadron to those undertaking the interrogation of the Kormoran's crew
  • the decoded notebook of Captain Detmers of the Kormoran

See the HMAS Sydney showcase.

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017