1940 - 1946
by Frank and Jacqueline Rice

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“Not Just a Stone Frigate – HMAS Maitland, Newcastle NSW 1940-1946” details the history of HMAS Maitland, which was an important Naval shore establishment in Newcastle during WWII.

 After finding out that Shore Establishments or Naval Bases are often called “Stone Frigates”, particularly by those who served at sea, we chose to name our book “Not Just a Stone Frigate – HMAS Maitland, Newcastle NSW 1940-46”. This was because our research revealed that this shore establishment was an important part of the defences of Newcastle’s harbour, shipbuilding and ship repair facilities, and heavy industry; as well as being a very important component of the protection and movement of goods by ships up and down the coast, including the coastal convoys convened during that period.

 Our book on HMAS Maitland is about a subject that is an important part of Newcastle’s and Australia’s naval war time history. It contains details and photos that have never been published before.

 Indications are that the majority of people in Newcastle (and Australia), even historians, do not know of the existence of HMAS Maitland in Newcastle.

 The book contains the history of HMAS Maitland which had a number of areas of operation scattered around Newcastle including the minefield across the harbour, the Port War Signal Station at Shepherds Hill, Port Examination Vessel and Auxiliary Minesweepers, manufacturing of boom nets at Rylands, etc.

 HMAS Maitland also served as a Transit Depot and many men were briefly posted there (or passed through there) on their way to other postings or to and from leave.

 The book also includes stories and photos from a number of surviving veterans, and of deceased veterans that served there at some time during the war. These stories have never been previously published.

 The book also contains a list of names of personnel known to have served at HMAS Maitland. This list is extensive, but by no means complete.

 The shore establishment was named HMAS Maitland as the Royal Navy already had a ship called HMS Newcastle, and so to avoid confusion the shore establishment in Newcastle was named Maitland (the nearest city).


“Not Just a Stone Frigate – HMAS Maitland, Newcastle, NSW 1940-1946” has been self published by the authors.


Copies of the book can be obtained by sending a cheque
for $25 (which includes $5 postage and packaging) to:-

F & J Rice
20 Charlton Street,
NSW 2282

Ph: -   (02) 4948 7419
or by e-mailing the Authors


Make sure you let Frank and Jacqueline know that
you heard about their book on Peter Dunn's "Australia @ War" web site



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This page first produced 29 June 2008

This page last updated 23 January 2020