Australia does not scuttle HMAS Australia but disarms her, using the 4 x turrets with 12’ guns as coastal shore batteries covering Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin harbour approaches. So in December 1921 she is paid off into reserve, sealed up, with her machinery preserved as best possible, left to ‘languish at her moorings’ with a small maintenance crew to occasionally turn over machinery and generators as needed and the occasional dry docking to clean and check the hull.
The Australia Government communicates to the British Government and the Washington Treaty negotiators that HMAS Australia was an pre-war armoured cruiser design, not a modern centreline turreted warship and that she has been disarmed and will never sail again as a turreted warship. Australia promises to keep the ship hull for no more than 5 years to consider carrier development before deciding whether to modify or scrap the ship.
By the 1926 decision time, the Royal Navy has had a few experimental carriers in commission or building and can provide advice on carrier design, possible modifications to the ship as she exists to suit and their thoughts on the future of carrier aviation.
HMAS Australia (i) raw data.
590’ overall, waterline 588’
18,750 tons std, 22,000 tons loaded
4 x shaft turbines, 44,000 shp for 25 kts
Armour- 4-6” belt,
Assuming at a minimum conversion to oil firing machinery and a full length flight deck what other information might be conveyed to base a decision?