Submarine Centenary

Submarine Centenary

In order to mark a century since the 1914 arrival in Australia of HMA Submarines AE1 and AE2, the SIA has established a Submarine Centenary Project.

Australia’s Submarine Centenary will commemorate submariners plus important places and people in Australia’s submarine history e.g. Vice Admiral Sir Ian McIntosh, a Geelong Grammar graduate, Lt Commander Thomas Besant and the crew of AE1, Lt Commander Henry 'Dacre' Stoker and the crew of AE2, Lt Commander Max Shean and Sub Lieutenant Ken Briggs, X craft crew. 

Locations noted include Geelong Vic, Holbrook NSW, Brisbane Qld, Fremantle, Exmouth and Albany WA, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour and former HMAS PLATYPUS, Sydney NSW.  Details are in the calendar below.  Events listed will assist to inform and engage the Australian public and international visitors on the history and future of the Australian Submarine Force:

Month/Year Proposed Activity Location
Jan-Feb Book Launch: A Century of Silent Service - Australian Submariners - Dr G. Seal/L. Blake All states, various locations TBA
March Book Launch: Australian Submarines Edition 2 - Dr M.D. White QC All states, various locations TBA
March RAN History Touring Display All states, various locations TBA
April Submarine History Showcase Naval Heritage Centre NSW and Vic
April Submarine OTWAY: 1968-1994 Reunion Dinner Holbrook, NSW
April Book Launch: The Mystery of AE1 and its Crew - Dr K. Spurling Holbrook, NSW
April RAN Exercises its Right to Freedom of the City/ ANZAC Day Parade Holbrook, NSW
April Public Ceremony Opening Day - AE1 Display Holbrook, NSW
25 April ANZAC Day All states, various locations TBA
May Book Launch: Australian Warship - Submarines - Mr P. Smith (SAA) All states, various locations TBA
24 May Re-enactment: Centenary of AE1/AE2 Arrival Sydney Harbour
May AE1/AE2 & USN Submarine History Display City of Albany History Centre
September Book Launch: Stoker's Submarine (Rev) - Mrs E. Brenchley All states various locations TBA
14 September Centenary of the loss of HMAS AE1 off New Britain
1 November Re-enactment of first AIF Convoy sailing from Albany, WA King George's Sound, Albany
November Commemoration of early submarine base, book launch Geelong, Victoria

SUB 100 Week
7 November Freedom of Entry Parade Fremantle, WA
7 November Meet and Greet Function Fremantle, WA
8 November SAA AGM Fremantle, WA
8 November Submariners' Gala Dinner Fremantle, WA
9 November Fremantle Festival Parade Fremantle, WA
9 November Memorabilia Day Fremantle, WA
10 November Photo Exhibition Launch Fremantle, WA
11 November Remembrance Day Fremantle, WA
11 November Opening Reception, SIA Conference Fremantle, WA
12 November SIA 7th Biennial Conference Day 1 Fremantle, WA
12 November AE2/Education Program with Schools Fremantle, WA
12 November SIA Conference Dinner Fremantle, WA
13 November SIA 7th Biennial Conference Day 2 Fremantle WA
13 November SUB Film Festival Fremantle, WA
14 November Hail and Farewell to all visitors Fremantle, WA

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of the calendar (1 MB PDF).

Celebrations culminate in late 2014 with activities, conferences and commemorative services in Fremantle WA.  Raising the submarine profile continuously through to 2014, other submarine history items are being promoted and pursued at every opportunity.

Submarine monographs are being distributed for publication in journals and magazines across Australia and beyond.  Distribution of the AE2 plaques generates interest wherever they are installed.

A book addressing the significance of AE2 was launched in March 2010; this led to press and radio exposure followed by guest speaking requests from Rotary and RSL Clubs.  There is always strong general public and media interest in submarines.

Important supporting events include SIA Biennial Conferences and One Day workshops: November 2010-2014. Opportunities always exist to promote Australia’s submarine history.

Credentialed comment by SIA addressing Australia’s submarine history and future development is to be exploited.

Fremantle: November 2014.  Celebration week event planning includes launch of the Dolphin Scholarship, National Submarine Museum, SIA Conference, SAA AGM, Fremantle RPC’s, Submariners  Welcome and march through Fremantle and Perth events.

The SIA and Submarines Association Australia will send a delegation to the 2011 International Submarine Congress inviting the ISC to Fremantle in 2014.  ISC is an annual global conference of International Submariners Associations.

Ceremonies and conference groups will attract approx total of 1200 delegates and visitors.

Submarine Review Fremantle:  Jane’s Fighting Ships list 43 nations operating submarines.  These countries are the target group for SIA Invitations and Expression-Of-Interest to have a boat in Fremantle for Centenary Celebrations in Nov 2014. 

Dolphin Scholarship: At no cost, the Winston Churchill Trust Australia has agreed to be administrators of the SIA Dolphin Scholarship.  An SIA Scholarship Board will be appointed to draw up scholarship details with the SIA controlling conditions and selection for the Dolphin award.  Churchill Trust fellowships are research grants of approx $24,000 covering international travel and living costs over 4-6 weeks anywhere in the world.  This scholarship will operate exclusively for Australian nationals.  SIA Inc will raise investment funds in support of the Dolphin Fellowship. 

Books: Research and compilation continues on preparation of three commemorative books which will be launched in locations across Australia commencing February 2014.

The main book will encompass 50,000 words, 55 photographs and will contain research and biographic material focused on Australian submarine people and their stories.  As an integral element of the 2014 Centenary of the Australian Submarine Service, initiated by the SIA, this is a major historical submarine research project.  The project is building towards the compilation and publication of a commemorative book in the final quarter of 2013 for the Submarine Centenary year.

A general rather than specialised volume, the book will be generously illustrated with appropriate period photographs and concentrating on the social and cultural aspects of a submariner’s life.  Readership will be submariners, their families and the public.  The book will draw in the considerable body of archival and oral history research already published plus aspects to be completed in 2011-12.

Together with an appendix of national and international Australian submarine heritage, the book will include a foreword by an eminent Australian and acknowledgement of the sponsor contribution to Australia’s Submarine Service yesterday and tomorrow. 

Chapters include : 


1. The first Australian Submariners

2. AE1 and AE2

3. The J-Boats

4. Australian Submariners in X-craft

5. Australian Submariners in World War II

6. Cold War Submariners

7. The Collins Class

8. The Present and Future

Other Publications

History of Australian Submarines II         
Revised.  Dr Michael White QC, Qld

The Men of AE1  
Dr Kathryn Spurling, 
Visitor, School of History, Australian National University, ACT

Oral History:  Australian Submariners  
Australian National Library - Mr R Willis, NSW

Queens Colours:  These would be an Australian White Ensign endorsed with Royal Insignia: Australia’s Submarine Veterans welcome the proposal.  SIA is seeking RAN Submarine Force support.  Such an award recognises 100 years of service by Australian submariners in what has been in the main, a Commonwealth conflict. Start point is Office of Governor General Australia.

Development of the Australian Submarine Centenary celebration continues to be generously supported by the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Submarine Veterans and Naval Historians in addition to those of the United States of America, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


To download an information flyer, click here.  Click here to contact Lloyd Blake, SIA lead for the Centenary of Submarines.

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