Unfit to Command

During night exercises in January 1964 the flagship of the RAN, the aircraft carrier Melbourne, collided with the destroyer Voyager 20 miles off Jervis Bay in NSW.
Voyager was cut in half and sank, and 82 lives were lost, including the Captain Duncan Stevens, 67 ships company and one civilian - many of them teenagers and at sea for the first time. The scandal that followed the tragedy dominated Australian political life for the next four years and helped bring down the government.
With assistance from the Royal Australian Navy, Unfit to Command tells the complete story of what happened on that fateful night in 1964 and over the ensuing years. Archival footage from the period is interwoven with eyewitness accounts and contemporary interviews to tell the public and personal stories of the Melbourne/Voyager tragedy.
Key interviews with survivors of the collision, the whistleblower Peter Cabban, John Robertson and Edward St John before their, senior journalists who covered the tragedy and its political players of the day, including Gough Whitlam, Don Chipp and John Jess, make this fascinating documentary an important lesson in Australia's history.
For secondary school English, SOSE/HSIE, History, Politics and Media Studies

This program is released for non theatrical use within educational, government and business organisations. Additional payments under a Screenrights licence are not required. Please contact us for Exhibition or Streaming Licences.

Production Year: 
2003
Duration: 
56 mins
Series Episode
Standard $110
Schools $88
Home $66


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