Throughout its commissioning, 192 people once worked on the HMAS Wagga. Now, only 27 of those are still alive.
On Monday, two of the former crew, David Williams and James Donohue arrived in Wagga for the biannual reunion and commemoration of the once-proud vessel.
"After it was decommissioned, the HMAS Wagga sat on what we call 'rotten row', waiting to be sold on to become scrap metal," said Mr Williams, the president of the HMAS Wagga Association.
"It stayed near the zoo in Sydney for two years then it was towed off to India to be scrapped."
The HMAS Wagga was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes used during World War II.
It was commissioned in 1942 and decommissioned when the war was completed in 1945. Five years later, it returned to service as a training vessel before it was finally retired in 1960.
Mr Williams and Mr Donohue were among the last crew members onboard the vessel.
"I was given the privilege of steering it into Sydney for the last time," Mr Donohue said.
"I was the last quartermaster of the last corvette. I'm very proud of that."
Upon its return, the vessel was stripped from the inside out ready to be decommissioned.
Mr Williams and Mr Donohue recall that was a sad day that ended a dramatic chapter in Australia's war history.
"During World War II, it has been involved in eight or nine campaigns through the Solomon Islands and South Pacific," Mr Donohue said.
"It was just 180 feet. It was a tiny thing. Carried 100 personnel."
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Each of the Bathurst-class corvettes was named after country towns, with the HMAS Wagga's sister ship being the HMAS Cootamundra.
But, to the best of their knowledge, none of the crew onboard its final voyage came from the Riverina. Now scattered across the country, the surviving crew makes a point of meeting twice a year, usually in Sydney.
During the navy commemoration on Monday morning, Mr Williams placed a plaque with the 192 names of former crew members at the centre of the corvette anchor at the entrance to the Victory Memorial Park.
"We're the youngest, we're the babies of the group and we're both now 80 ourselves," Mr Williams said.
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