HMAS Moreton is responsible for the coordination and administration of all RAN activity in Queensland south of the Tropic of Capricorn (near Rockhampton) including the organisation of ship visits by RAN and foreign naval vessels to Brisbane, Gladstone and Southport. HMAS Moreton also hosts visiting minor war vessels at the Navy’s wharf at Bulimba including Armidale Class Patrol Boats and Coastal Minehunters.
The area of operations for which HMAS Moreton is responsible encompasses 22,000 square kilometres from the New South Wales border to the Tropic of Capricorn and includes the regions of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay and the Darling Downs, all of which are productive recruitment areas for the RAN
HMAS Moreton HistoryAustralia’s Navy has enjoyed a long association with Brisbane that dates back to colonial times when the Queensland Marine Defence Force (QMDF) was raised in 1883 to provide for local naval defence.
In 1911 the Royal Australian Navy took control of the former QMDF depot in Alice Street, in the area known as Garden Reach on the Brisbane River, near the domain. Its principle purpose was the training of men in the Naval Reserves. The depot was first established in the late 1880's, comprising a slipway and a shed, and was home to the colonial vessels Mosquito and Midge.
At the outbreak of World War II the Alice Street depot commissioned as HMAS Penguin IV on 3 September 1939. Other sites were also used by the RAN including the former offices of the QMDF situated at nearby Edward Street from where the Queensland District Naval Officer and his staff discharged administrative duties. A naval stores facility, established at Kangaroo Point in 1887, as well as an oil fuel installation also came under the authority of Penguin IV.
On 1 August 1940 Penguin IV was renamed HMAS Brisbane to better reflect its locality.
Coinciding with this expansion was a decision to recommission HMAS Brisbane as HMAS Moreton on 1 October 1942. The chief reason for doing so was to remove confusion arising between the similarity in titles of the Naval Officer-in-Charge Brisbane (the area) and the Commanding Officer of HMAS Brisbane
The first unofficial badge forHMAS Moreton had its origin in the Colmslie Fairmile base which came under the administration of Moreton. The badge depicted a bow-on view of a motor launch at speed, in a rope circle, surmounted by a Naval Crown. Beneath was a motto in Latin which read ‘Ago Quod Ago’ the meaning of which is ‘What I do I do’ or ‘What I do, I do well’.
By October 1944 Moreton was also responsible for administering operations, intelligence and communications staffs attached to Allied Headquarters, Allied Naval Headquarters and Naval Staff in depots throughout Queensland and New Guinea.
With the cessation of hostilities in 1945, Moreton was used as a demobilisation facility for those returning from active service. A decision to disband the Naval Reserves in 1946 saw the Alice Street depot temporarily close and decommission, although the name Moreton continued to be used in connection with the administrative duties of the Resident Naval Officer situated in nearby Edward Street.
In 1960 the New Farm premises, encompassing three hectares of waterfront real estate and wharfage, commissioned as HMAS Moreton. Over the next three decades it served as home to the Brisbane Port Division of the RANR as well as the Sea Cadets, later renamed Naval Reserve Cadets. Several vessels were assigned as tenders to Moreton including General Purpose Vessel (GPV) 957 and Motor Refrigeration Lighter (MRL) 253. The latter was subsequently re-named Training Vessel (TV) Gayundah, and proved to be an ideal platform for seamanship and navigation training.
The Attack class patrol boat HMAS Adroit was another that became a familiar sight on the Brisbane River when it was assigned to Moreton as a Reserve training vessel following her commissioning at New Farm on 18 August 1968. She served in that capacity until August 1974 after which she joined the permanent RAN fleet.
This additional role saw a requirement for a wharf capable of berthingHMAS Tobruk as well as the six LCHs, consequently, in 1981, the Capricorn wharf and buildings situated downstream from Moreton were leased for that purpose before being purchased in 1982. This area became known as Moreton (North).
Until the end of 1985 Moreton was home to over 1,000 permanent naval personnel and their dependents, seven ships, nearly 200 active RANR personnel and the Queensland Division of the Naval Reserve Cadets. It also hosted a 100 strong lodger cadet unit, TS Gayundah.
In August 1986 the office of Naval Headquarters Queensland was relocated from its long-time residence in Edward Street, Brisbane to Moreton. The building was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 March 2013. Moreton (North) was sold in 1998 having fallen into disuse.
In its scaled down role, Moreton continued to represent naval shore-based interests in the Queensland area south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Its staff provided administrative and logistic support to visiting naval ships and craft and it continued in its long-time role as the home of the RANR and Naval Reserve Cadets.
In 2008 Bulimba Barracks was classified as a multi-user depot providing support to various Defence functions in the Brisbane area. Joint Logistics Unit South Queensland was the primary unit within Bulimba Barracks and Navy Headquarters (NHQ) South Queensland became a resident unit.
In 2014 a decision was made to dispose of the majority of the 23 hectares of Defence land at Bulimba Barracks. A small portion of land, on which NHQ South Queensland was situated was retained and due to increasing naval activity in the district a determination was made to commission the facility, again using the name Moreteon. HMAS Moreton officially commissioned on 14 May 2016 under the command of Commander Peter Tedman, DSM, OAM, RAN.