70th anniversary year a big one for Kuttabul

Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), LSIS Brenton Freind (photographer), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Kuttabul

Long queues are formed to look over HMAS Darwin as some expected 22,000 members of the general public visit Sydney's Garden Island, to view the Australian and International warships on display for the Navy Open Day as part of the International Fleet Review 2013. (photo: LSIS Brenton Freind)
Long queues are formed to look over HMAS Darwin as some expected 22,000 members of the general public visit Sydney's Garden Island, to view the Australian and International warships on display for the Navy Open Day as part of the International Fleet Review 2013.

2013 was a big year for HMAS Kuttabul, with the base celebrating its 70th Anniversary since commissioning. The establishment also played a key role in supporting the International Fleet Review (IFR), while continuing its primary role of providing essential support and sustainment to the Royal Australian Navy Fleet.
 
Commanding Officer, Commander Todd Willson says he is proud of his staff for accomplishing so much throughout the year.
 
“2013 has been a very busy year at Kuttabul.  We commemorated 70 years of service to the Fleet and we were the host establishment for the IFR. While in size we are a big establishment, Kuttabul relied on a small planning team to coordinate our support to the IFR. I’m proud of the team’s performance and that we’ve  lived up to our outstanding reputation,” said Commander Willson.
 
“With just under 37,000 people visiting Garden Island and Fleet Base East, the open days were a resounding success and a high point in the calendar.”
 
Throughout the year, the establishment also held a number of events to mark 70 years of service.
 
“The year kicked off with a cake cutting on New Years Eve to commemorate the commissioning of the Sydney based establishment on 01 January 1943,” said Commander Willson.
 
“In May we held our annual memorial service and in August, the Great Gatsby themed ship’s ball was a highlight, with the esprit de corp of the establishment evident.”
 
AB Dean Walsh, who works in the buffers office at Kuttabul played an active role in supporting activities and said 2013 has been a great year.
 
“The highlight for me was probably being part of the 100 gun salute on the Island during the IFR. I was one of nine Kuttabul personnel on the 3 pound saluting guns. It was fantastic because it’s something not many people have done or will get to do - it was a once in a lifetime for us,” said AB Walsh.

The Royal Australian Navy's Three Pound Saluting Gun Battery fires three 3-pound cannons, three times, in preparation fpr the International Fleet Review (IFR) which will be held in Sydney in October 3-11, 2013.

The Royal Australian Navy's Three Pound Saluting Gun Battery fires three 3-pound cannons, three times, in preparation fpr the International Fleet Review (IFR) which will be held in Sydney in October 3-11, 2013.


“It was also great getting to tour all of the different international ship's that visited during IFR, getting to see what they do and how they operate.”
 
While there were some unique opportunities during IFR, AB Walsh says it was hectic.
 
“While it was great fun, the IFR was a challenge. We had to organise many working parties, the gun salutes, set up marquees and so on. It was an incredibly busy time.”
 
“I've been at Kuttabul for two years and it's been a pretty rewarding job. My main tasks have been weapons training, maintenance, and various other odd jobs and tasks. I’ve definitely met some cool people and made some good mate's here in the Buffer's team. I'm now finishing up my posting and headed to HMAS Perth, which I am really looking forward to,” said AB Walsh.