Joseph Cook's Yarra Bell

Joseph Cook's Yarra Bell
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Joseph Cook (1860 – 1947) was the 6th Prime Minister of Australia and held the office for a short period from 1913 to 1914. Prior to this he was Defence Minister.

In 1909 discussions between representatives of the British Admiralty and the Australian Government resulted in a decision to proceed with the establishment of an Australian Fleet Unit. The first units of this Navy, the destroyers, HMAS Yarra and Parramatta, reached Australia in November 1910. In the following year King George V granted the title of 'Royal Australian Navy' to the Commonwealth Naval Forces.

As is tradition, the commissioning of these ships involved the ringing of a bell. The Yarra Bell, currently in Royal Australian Heritage Centre, Sydney, is from HMAS Yarra.

One of Cook's last acts as Prime Minister was to commit the Royal Australian Naval to Britain’s war effort.

In 1929 the Yarra was transferred to the control of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard where she was stripped of all useful fittings. Her hulk was scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1931.


You can purchase the DVD of The Prime Minister's National Treasures here.

Warren Brown