HMQS Otter

Otter in 1946

Upon establishment of Queensland’s Maritime Defence Force in 1884, the colonial government ordered two gunboats and a torpedo boat to equip the new force.

However it was considered that, given the number of ports along Queensland’s 4,400 mile coastline, additional ships would be required to supplement those vessels.

Originally designed as a tug, during its construction, the ship was purchased by the QMDF and was converted for military service. She was fitted with a single 5-inch gun allowing her to operate as an auxiliary.


Construction(probably) steel hulled with timber deck
(width at widest point)
(depth in water)

Displacement220 tons
PropulsionExpansion Steam Engines ?

twin-screw ?
Expansion Steam Engines ?

twin-screw ?
Max. Speed12 knots22 kph
Armament1 × 5 inch gun
(later 1 × 64-pounder)
Manufacture date1887
Manufactured by Ramage and Ferguson
Manufactured atLeith, Scotland
Launched19 July 1884
In service1884 - 1906
and recalled in WW1 and WW2

Service and Disposal

In service, HMQS Otter performed tender duties as well as conducting patrols. Following Federation she was transferred to the Commonwealth Naval Forces. She was paid off in 1906.

Subsequently sold into civilian hands, she was  requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy during World War 1 to serve as an examination vessel. She was returned to her owner on cessation of hostilities.

In World War 2, Otter again served as an examination vessel, until December 1940 when she returned to private operations on Moreton Bay.

Otter was scrapped in 1946.