HMAS Sleuth l
Built at Sydney in 1901 as the 70 grt, or 108 ton steam yacht 'ENA,' this vessel was requisitioned in January 1917, and commissioned on the 13th of that month as the armed yacht HMAS SLEUTH.
Armed with a 3-pounder gun, and crewed by a complement of 10 men, she headed north and began patrols in the Torres Strait, between Australia and New Guinea, on March 15 the same year.
In the last year of WWI she engaged in further patrols along Australia's East Coast, and ended her RAN service as a tender to the recruit training and accomodation vessel HMAS TINGIRA in Sydney Harbour.
Apparently having passed to the possession of the Navy, one good source has her sold on February 19, 1920. Quite specific.
The late John Bastock's limited edition book 'Australia's Ships of War,' however, seems to suggest further naval service, saying 'She was engaged in Harbour duties up to the end of WWII, after which she was laid up and disposed of.' Bastock goes on to say that as late as the 1970s she was still afloat and reported to be in use as a crayfishing vessel in Tasmania's Derwent River.
MORE INFORMATION: Graeme Andrews has sent some more post-WWII information. Graeme writes ...
'More on SLEUTH - during the post WW2 period she became a fishing boat around Hobart, under the name AURORE - motor vessel, of course. In the early 1980s a syndicate of very, very rich Sydneysiders refloated her from the bottom of the Derwent and brought her to Sydney where she was totally rebuilt to her original magnificence by the late Nick Masterman. She was renamed ENA. For the Fremantle defence of the America's Cup she sailed across the Bight to Freo and then completed a clockwise circumnavigation of Australia. All aboard had a very rough time but she made it. Her compound steam engine looks like you could eat your dinner off it and she is still afloat and in care in Sydney. She is up for charter but I don't know if it happens very often.I photographed her aboard in very great detail about 20 years ago.
Photo: Collection of Graeme Andrews RAN 1955-1968, RANR 1980, it appears in Graeme's very large collection of maritime images displayed on the Sydney Heritage Fleet website. The photo also appears in Ross Gillett's book 'Australian and New Zealand Warships 1914-1945.