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120ft Motor Lighter
Class overview
Name: 120ft Motor Lighter
  • Royal Australian Navy
  • Australian Army
  • Royal Australian Air Force
  • Royal Navy
  • United States Army
Completed: ~50
General characteristics
Type: Motor Lighter
Tonnage: 250 tons
Length: 120 ft (37 m)
Beam: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Diesel engines

The 120 ft Motor Lighter was a class of lighters designed by the Australian Shipbuilding Board during World War II and built for the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Navy and the US Army[1][2]


The lighters were 120 feet (37 m) in length, 9 feet (2.7 m) depth and 24 feet (7.3 m) breadth and cost about $120,000 each to build.[2]


Royal Australian NavyEdit

The Royal Australian Navy ordered three refrigerator, two stores and nine water variants.

Ship Built Builder Service Notes
MRL 251
MRL 252
MRL 253 Johnson's Shipyard, Melbourne Renamed HMAS Gayundah in 1969.
MRL 254 Order cancelled
MRL 255 Order cancelled
MSL 251 Tulloch Limited, Rhodes Loaned to Department of External Territories, sank during a storm on 23 June 1950, with 17 lives lost.
MSL 252 State Dockyard, Newcastle 1946-1973 Converted to a survey vessel in 1958, renamed HMAS Paluma. Paid off on 30 March 1973, and sold in 1974.
MWL 251 Renamed HMAS Gunga Din.
MWL 252 Order cancelled.
MWL 253
MWL 254 Broken up at Homebush Bay.
MWL 255 State Dockyard, Newcastle
MWL 256 State Dockyard, Newcastle Renamed HMAS Lonsdale, later HMAS Gunga Din II.
MWL 257 Sold for scrapping in 1985.
MWL 258 Order cancelled.
MWL 259 Order cancelled.

Royal Australian ArmyEdit

Thirty one vessels were ordered by the Australian Army.

Ship Built Builder Service Notes
AV 2050 Elspeth
AV 2051
AV 2052 Johnson's Shipyard, Melbourne 1945 For auction in 1948.
AV 2053
AV 2054
AV 2055
AV 2056 Evelyn
AV 2057
AV 2058
AV 2059
AV 2060
AV 2061
AV 2062
AV 2063
AV 2064
AV 2065
AV 2066 Ellen Transferred to Royal Navy as MSL 41
AV 2067 Endeavour Transferred to Royal Navy as MSL 42
AV 2068 For auction incomplete in 1948.
AV 2069
AV 2070
AV 2071
AV 2072
AV 2073
AV 2074
AV 2075 Emily
AV 2076
AV 2077
AV 2078
AV 2079
AV 2080 Ebbtide Transferred to Royal Navy as MRL 21

Royal Australian Air ForceEdit

The Royal Australian Air Force ordered five vessels.

Royal NavyEdit

Ship Built Builder Service Notes
MSL 41
MSL 42
MRL 21

United States ArmyEdit

Ship Built Builder Service Notes


  1. Alsop, p.56.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wilson, p.32.


  • Alsop, Brian (1996). Australian Army watercraft : Australia's unknown fleet : from the Second World War to the present day. Topmill, Marrickville. ISBN 1-876043-15-6. 
  • Wilson, Michael; Australia. Navy Office. Naval Historical Records Section; Australia. Navy Office. Public Affairs (1994). Royal Australian Navy : Profile No. 4. Royal Australian Navy 21st century warships: naval auxiliaries 1911-1999 (including Defence Maritime Services). Topmill, Marrickville. ISBN 1-876270-72-1. 

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