Penguin gets clean bill of health on 74th birthday

Published on Department of Defence (author), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Penguin

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN cuts HMAS Penguins 74th Birthday cake with assistance from SMN Shardean Fenner at the Sir David Martin Mess, HMAS Penguin.  (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN cuts HMAS Penguins 74th Birthday cake with assistance from SMN Shardean Fenner at the Sir David Martin Mess, HMAS Penguin.

Home of the Royal Australian Navy Diving and Medical schools, HMAS Penguin celebrated 74 years of service to the Australian community this month.

The youngest member of ship's company, Seaman Star Shardean Fenner, joined with the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, to cut the birthday cake at the Sir David Martin Mess.

Seaman Star Fenner said it was an honour to have a hand in the celebrations for a base which she loved.

"I started working here nine months ago and I'm completing a medical course, after which I'm looking forward to getting out into the Fleet," she said.

"I love it at Penguin. It is a beautiful spot and the people are great. It is an honour to cut the cake to celebrate the base's birthday. I'm very grateful."

"Even though I'm more of a vanilla cake fan, I am willing to give the chocolate cake a go."

Commanding Officer HMAS Penguin, Commander Ian Campbell, said the base - situated in the Sydney suburb of Balmoral - remained an important part of the Navy.

"Penguin commissioned on 14 July 1942. On commissioning, Penguin was home to Balmoral Naval Hospital and served as a convalescence centre and as a base for Fairmile B motor launches that patrolled Sydney Harbour," Commander Campbell said.

"While the Balmoral Naval Hospital closed in 2008, we still play an important role training and providing medical support to Navy personnel."

Penguin is home to the Medical School, Maritime Operational Health Unit, Submarine and Underwater Medicine Unit and Recompression Chamber Facility.

"The Royal Australian Navy Diving School and Hydrographic School are also based at Penguin, along with 1 Commando Company," Commander Campbell said.

"On our 74th anniversary, we live up to our motto - proud to serve."