Navy centenary to reignite memories of arrival of first Australian fleet into Sydney Harbour

HMAS Sydney when the first Australian fleet sailed into Sydney on October 4, 1914. Charles Andrews formerly of Jannali who was aboard HMAS Sydney when the first Australian fleet sailed into Sydney on October 4, 1914.

The historic photos were supplied by his grandson Peter Gough who is pictured with his daughter Jodi and her two boys, Samuel and Matthew. Picture: Chris Lane

Charles James Andrews was a crew member aboard HMAS Sydney.

AS AUSTRALIA celebrates the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Australian naval fleet into Sydney Harbour (October 4-13), it will be a personal milestone for one family from Sutherland Shire.

Peter Gough, 67, of Lilli Pilli will be remembering his grandfather, Charles James Andrews, who was a young crew member on HMAS Sydney when it sailed into the harbour on October 4, 1913.

“My grandfather Charles Andrews (1892-1980) ran away from home at 14 to get away from his stepmother,” Mr Gough said this week.

“He joined the army in 1910 and transferred to the navy, what was then called the fledgling Commonwealth and Naval Forces, although he referred to it as the Imperial Australian Navy.”

In 1911, Charles Andrews served on the HMS Challenger, a British cruiser which trained Australian navy personnel.

“My grandfather and his crewmates arrived in England in 1912 and were trained on British ships to take over the first Australian naval ships being built in Britain.

“He was part of the crew of HMAS Sydney which they brought back to Sydney.

“He was on board when HMAS Sydney engaged and destroyed the German cruiser SMS Emden off the coast of the Cocos-Keeling Islands on November 9, 1914.

“My grandfather was the shipwright of the Sydney; the Germans beached the Emden rather than let it sink.”

Mr Gough still has photographs taken when the Australians boarded the scuttled Emden.

Mr Andrews married Dorothy in 1918 and he left the Royal Australian Navy in 1919.

Their one child was Elva.

“Charles ran his own trucking business, one of the first in the city,” Mr Gough said.

“During World War II the petrol shortages affected his business so he became a tally clerk on the wharfs.

“He retired and lived a comfortable, happy life at Jannali, passing away in 1980 at 88.”

Mr Gough said his grandfather was a loving and gentle man who spoke very little of his navy service.

But he has left many mementoes for his family.

“My grandfather kept an amazing collection of memorabilia of his life in the navy including a handwritten diary,” Mr Gough said.

“It is wonderful that he is recognised for what he and his shipmates did all that time ago; they deserve it.”

Charles Andrews’ daughter, Elva Gough, nee Andrews, died in early September at 91.

Mr Gough was her only child and he has two children, a son David who lives in Brazil, and daughter Jodi at Sylvania.

Mr Gough, his daughter and grandchildren will be recalling their relative and his life during the 100th anniversary celebrations of the naval fleet’s first arrival.

“The navy has sent me invitations to join in the celebrations on the 4th and 5th, so I am pleased to be able to represent my grandfather at this grand event,” Mr Gough said.


More than 50 nations have been invited to send a warship and/or tall ship to take part in the International Fleet Review to be held on October 3-11. On Friday, October 4, the warships will enter Sydney Harbour during the day, accompanied by air displays.



VISITORS to the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review are reminded trains and buses will be the best way to move around the city.

The celebration, to be attended by Prince Harry, coincides with other major events, including the NRL grand final and One Direction concert.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said anyone planning to enjoy the celebrations should use one of the extra 5000 public transport services as many roads will be closed and extra clearways will be in place in Sydney’s CBD and around the harbour.

‘‘This is going to be the biggest celebration on Sydney Harbour in 100 years and 1.7 million people are expected to participate,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.

Road closures and special event clearways start Thursday and some continue until October 11.

Are you looking forward to the fleet arriving?

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