The submarine is named after Lieutenant-Commander Robert William 'Oscar' Rankin who distinguished himself in action in World War II.
He commanded the sloop HMAS Yarra and was conducting convoy escort duties in the Northern Indian Ocean when attacked by a Japanese force in February 1942. Facing a far superior force of three heavy cruisers and two destroyers, Rankin gallantly positioned his ship between the Japanese and the scattering convoy vessels. After an intense exchange, he was killed when an eight-inch salvo hit the bridge shortly after passing the order to abandon ship.
The motto ‘Defend The Weak’ is testimony to Robert Rankin and HMAS Yarra's determination to defend the unarmed convoy ships.
- Launched 7 November 2001
- Commissioned 29 March 2003
The submarine is named after Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean, who was lost when HMAS Armidale was sunk on 1 December 1942 off the Timorese coast.
HMAS Armidale had survived two days of bombing before being struck by a Japanese aerial torpedo. During the action Ordinary Seaman Sheean was wounded and, rather than abandoning ship with the rest of his shipmates, he strapped himself to the aft Oerlikon Gun and continued to fire at the attacking Japanese aircraft until HMAS Armidale sank.
Sheean was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery.
HMAS Sheean is the only Australian naval vessel to be named after a sailor and the submarine continues to maintain strong ties with Ordinary Seaman Sheean's hometown of Latrobe, Tasmania.
- Launched 1 May 1999
- Commissioned 23 February 2001
The submarine is named after Captain Emile Dechaineux, the Commanding Officer of HMAS Australia during the latter stages of World War II.
On the morning of 21 October 1944, Australia was part of a bombardment force supporting the Allied landing at Leyte in the Central Philippines. During the battle, a Japanese dive-bomber was engaged and hit by HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire. At first, the aircraft appeared to fly away from the ships, but it subsequently turned and dived into HMAS Australia, hitting the foremast and causing a large explosion and intense fuel fire.
Captain Dechaineux died of wounds received in the attack and was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer) by the United States Government.
- Launched 12 March 1998
- Commissioned 21 February 2001
The submarine is named after Captain Hector Waller DSO and Bar who, in 1942, was Commander of the cruiser HMAS Perth that was part of a combined Allied force when it was ambushed by the Japanese. All except HMAS Perth and USS Houston were sunk.
Later, the two ships were intercepted by a Japanese invasion fleet escorted by two cruisers and 12 destroyers. Enormous damage was inflicted on the Japanese fleet.
Waller ordered HMAS Perth be abandoned as the Japanese closed in. HMAS Perth was sunk with her captain, but not before he had fired two torpedo tubes at the convoy. USS Houston was sunk shortly afterwards.
- Launched 14 March 1997
- Commissioned 10 July 1999
The submarine is named after Rear Admiral Harold B Farncomb CB DSO MVO RAN who distinguished himself in action during World War II.
He commanded HMAS Canberra in 1941 when the ship forced two German raider support ships to scuttle while on Indian Ocean patrol. Later, aboard HMAS Australia, he saw action in the Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, the East Solomons, Arawe and Cape Gloucester.
He assumed temporary command of His Majesty's Australian Squadron when Commodore Collins was wounded aboard HMAS Australia at Leyte in 1944. He commanded the Squadron in operations at Corregidor, Brunei and Balikpapan.
- Launched 15 December 1995
- Commissioned 31 January 1998
The submarine is named after Vice Admiral Sir John Augustine Collins KBE CB RAN. During his tenure as Captain of HMAS Sydney (II) in World War II, Collins led his men to victory in the Mediterranean against a formidable enemy, sinking an Italian destroyer and two cruisers in 1940. In June 1944, in recognition of his valuable service, he was made a Commodore 1st Class and appointed Commander of the Australian Squadron.
On 21 October 1944, while taking part in landings in the Philippines, his flagship - HMAS Australia - was attacked by Japanese suicide aircraft which struck and critically damaged the bridge. Collins was severely injured in this attack and was evacuated back to Australia.
In 1947 Collins was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, becoming one of the first graduates of the Royal Australian Naval College to attain flag rank. In February 1948 he assumed the appointment of First Naval Member of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board and Chief of Naval Staff, a post which he retained for a record seven years until he retired on 23 February 1955.
- Launched 28 August 1993
- Commissioned 27 July 1996