HMAS Cowra (J351/M351), named for the town of Cowra, New South Wales, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Cowra began active service in November 1943 as a convoy escort along the east coast of Australia. She continued until March 1944, when she was reassigned to New Guinea as an escort and anti-submarine patrol vessel.
In June 1944, the corvette sailed to Melbourne for refits, which concluded on 19 August. She returned to New Guinea at the end of the month, and for the next eleven months was primarily assigned to escort and patrol duties near Morotai. In January 1945, Cowra fired on Japanese shore positions at Yalela Bay, before visiting Brisbane briefly in February 1945.
On 17 July, she was recalled to Australian waters, where she spent the rest of World War II. The ship was awarded two battle honours—"Pacific 1943–45" and "New Guinea 1944"—for her wartime service.
Following the end of the war, Cowra was assigned to the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla, and performed mine clearance operations in the waters of Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
On 2 December 1946, Cowra returned to Sydney and was decommissioned into reserve.
On 20 February 1951, Cowra was recommissioned for use as a training ship for National Service trainees.