5RAR Tiger Logo Australian Navy in support of 5RAR


HMAS Sydney docking at Garden Island with soldiers of 5RAR in 1970Troops of 5 RAR are shown lining the flight deck of HMAS Sydney at Woolloomooloo, Sydney Harbour, on 10 March 1970 upon returning home from active service in South Vietnam. The Western Australians had disembarked at Fremantle five days earlier.

HMAS Sydney, known by the troops as the ‘Vung Tau Ferry’, was used to transport Australian troops and equipment to and from South Vietnam during the war between May 1965 and November 1972. She made 25 such voyages.

HMAS Sydney was a Majestic Class light aircraft carrier originally built for the Royal Navy and launched as HMS Terrible in 1944, but she was not completed before the end of World War II. The carrier was sold to Australia in 1947, completed, and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Sydney in 1948. She operated as the navy's flagship during the early part of her career, operated in the Korean War in 1951-52 but was then placed in reserve as surplus to requirements in the late 1950s. The Sydney was recommissioned in 1962 and initially used for training before becoming a troop ship in the Vietnam War from 1965. HMAS Sydney normally transported about 450 - 500 soldiers plus equipment, heavy weapons and vehicles on each voyage.

When 5 RAR (both tours of duty) was being transported on the 'Vung Tau Ferry' her escorts were:

♦ April 1966 from Australia to Vung Tau: HMAS Melbourne, HMAS Vampire and HMAS Yarra.

♦ April-May 1967 from Vung Tau to Sydney: HMAS Vampire.

♦ February 1969 Fremantle to Vung Tau: HMAS Derwent.

♦ February-March 1970 from Vung Tau to Sydney: HMAS Yarra

On 20 July 1973, the Australian government decided that Sydney was to be decommissioned. A refit planned to start late in the year was cancelled, and on 12 November 1973, Sydney was paid off and marked for disposal. The ship had sailed 711,549 nautical miles (1,317,789 km) since she was first commissioned. In 1975 she was sold to a South Korean steel mill for scrapping.