A Return to Australia

A return to Australia

My posting has been a little light on here over the past few months, but I have a good excuse — I’ve been deployed as part of my Navy duties for five months on a journey that has taken us to some ten nations on three continents (not including Australia).

I am a Public Affairs Officer (PAO) in the Royal Australian Navy, and since late last year I have been the embarked PAO in the helicopter frigate HMAS Anzac for NORTHERN TRIDENT 2015 (NT15).

NT15 had several key aspects – commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac, international engagement and interoperability with international navies.

It was a very busy and successful deployment, and was one which allowed us to visit some amazing places, including Greece, Turkey, Italy, Malta, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Morocco, South Africa and Mauritius. I personally really loved Malta in particular, with Mauritius, the UK, Crete and Cape Town being great visits also.

The above video, shot by our embarked Imagery Specialist, supported by colleagues ashore and compiled by Defence Multimedia, tells a short story of our return to Sydney last Saturday (8 August 2015).

Now that I am back, I look forward to getting back into posting my personal photos, and posting about photography and diving.

USS Bonhomme Richard in Sydney

USS Bonhomme Richard at Garden Island

In August 2013 USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 06) paid a visit to Sydney’s Fleet Base East.

Bonhomme Richard is a Landing Helicopter Dock (aka Ambhibious Assault Ship) that is capable of carrying helicopters, STOVL fighters and a large force of embarked marines that can be landed by helicopter or landing craft launched from the LHD’s well deck.

Bonhomme Richard is of a similar size and role as the Canberra class LHDs shortly to be commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy.

Being a large ship, the challenge was to find a suitable location publicly accessible from which to get the whole ship into frame, without too much in the way of foreground distractions.

Being a beautiful Sydney day, the sky and the harbour were both quite blue, so the blue-grey colour of Bonhomme Richard also caused a challenge for contrast.

The old structure in the foreground became a good solution to both problems—it provided colour and depth, without being too distracting. The challenge was to frame it appropriately.

Warships

Warships

Image of warships alongside at Sydney’s Fleet Base East (HMAS Kuttabul). In the image are with HMAS Tobruk (L50), HMAS Stuart (FFH 153) & HMAS Darwin (FFG 04). Peeking in front of the bow of HMAS Tobruk is MHNZS Te Mana.

This photo was made 6 weeks before the recent RAN International Fleet Review, and all the warships shown participated.

View this image on 500px, Flickr or Google+

International Fleet Review in Sydney

This coming Friday, 4th October, marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival into Sydney of the first dedicated fleet for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) [1]. The RAN was actually the first of the former Colonial Dominion navies to become independent of the Royal Navy.

To celebrate this milestone, the Royal Australian Navy is conducting an International Fleet Review this week. Thursday (3 Oct) will see an entry by a fleet of around 16 local and international tall ships, whilst Friday (4 Oct) will see the Ceremonial Fleet Entry of around 40 warships – including 19 Australian and 18 international vessels [2]. This should be a spectacular affair.

On Saturday (5 Oct) the Governor General, joined by HRH Prince Harry, will conduct the Ceremonial Fleet Review. This will be followed by a Spectacular event, and then ships open days on the Sunday and Monday.

In the following days, there will be a number of events around Sydney, including Freedom of Entry parades in Parramatta (HMAS Parramatta’s crew) and Mosman (HMAS Penguin) and a Combined Navies Parade along George Street, Sydney.

This should be a spectacular week in and around Sydney. There will be marvelous photo opportunities around the harbour and at the various parades and events. It is also a great way to celebrate a milestone for our Royal Australian Navy, and the men and women who serve and have served.


  1. The RAN was actually formed in 1911 using the various vessels of the former Colonial navies, but 1913 marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the dedicated fleet.  ↩

  2. Unfortunately the international participation is slightly reduced from the original plans due to Russia re-tasking its vessels to the Mediterranean, and the Canadian participant suffering a mishap en-route to the Pacific.  ↩

A Hidden Gem in Sydney: Navy Heritage Centre

I plan to blog a bit more in detail later, and post some images, but Belinda and I visited the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre yesterday.
It was a beautiful summer-time Sunday in Sydney, and we were perhaps two of less than 10 visitors at the centre for the entire time we were there.

Getting there involves a short ferry ride from Circular Quay to Garden Island. There is no land access (except for tourist buses).

It’s truly one of Sydney’s hidden gems, with magnificent vistas for photographers.