12 May 1941 Whyalla shipyards
The first ship off the slipway of the shipbuilding yards at Whyalla was a naval vessel, appropriately the HMAS Whyalla, launched on 12 May 1941. A further three corvettes, the Kalgoorlie, Gawler and Pirie, were completed that year. More naval ships were built during World War II. At war's end the yards were used to build large ore carriers and tankers.
The 19,000 ton ore carrier Iron Dampier was launched at Whyalla on 23 October 1960. The 504 foot long vessel, with its 10,000 hp diesel engine, was the 34th ship to be built at the shipyards. A sister ship to the Iron Flinders , it was the biggest ship to be launched in Australia at the time. It was to be used on the Yampi to Port Kembla ore trade and could handle about 300,000 tons of ore each year. It was announced at the launching that work was proceeding on a 32,250 ton deadweight Ampol tanker, the biggest ship to be built in Australia and also that a further two ore carriers of 20,000 tons for BHP were planned. Even bigger ships were to come, as in January 1962 the 42,000 ton P J Adams was launched followed by the Musgrave Range in June. The 21,400 ton Gerringong was launched in January 1965, the 49 000 ton Darling River in December, while the Bogong launched in August 1966 was the 43rd ship built in the city. The largest ship was the Clutha Capricorn of 52,000 tons launched in May 1972. In 1967 an oil rig, the Ocean Digger, was built.
The Advertiser, 24 October 1960.
John Tolley's Chronology.