Ladies taking charge in Sirius

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Libby Newman (author), LEUT Jake Leonard (photographer), ABET Luke van Beekhuizen (photographer)

Lieutenant Sonia Clark takes a bearing on the Bridge Pelorus (photo: LEUT Jake Leonard)
Lieutenant Sonia Clark takes a bearing on the Bridge Pelorus

All Royal Australian Navy ships have a small group of officers dedicated to keeping the ship safe by day and night, whether operating as a single ship or steaming in company. 

They are the Captain’s representative on the bridge, in charge of executing the navigation plan, controlling programmed activities, and ensuring the safety of the ship and all on board.

With two additional officers achieving their platform endorsement  in the recent weeks, replenishment ship HMAS Sirius now boasts an entirely female Officer of the Watch team.

Together, the dynamic trio make for a highly skilled and proficient team, keeping the ship safe around the clock and in all conditions .

Sub Lieutenant Jocelynne Booth Millichamp joined recently from HMAS Darwin where she was posted as an Officer of the Watch for six months.  

Lieutenant Libby Newman is the ship’s newest addition having graduated from the Junior Warfare Application Course in December last year and receiving her platform endorsement in March.  

Lieutenant Sonia Clark joined Sirius in June 2015 and, as the most experienced of the group, fills the role of Special Sea Duties Officer of the Watch.  

“It’s great to see women taking charge on the bridge but it’s even better to realise that in today’s Navy this is starting to become the new norm,” said Lieutenant Clark.  

Cultural reforms such as New Generation Navy and Pathway to Change were introduced with a view to have Navy and the wider Australian Defence Force leading the charge in gender equality.  

With Navy striving to increase the percentage of women in the workforce to 25 percent by 2023, the emergence of female officers in key roles at all levels of the Navy is a great example of the change in culture taking effect.  

HMAS Sirus has recently visited Norfolk Island - marking 226 years since her namesake and flagship of the First Fleet, HMS Sirius struck a reef and sank near the island on 19 March 1790.

For more information about HMAS Sirius visit the Navy website http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-sirius.