Commissioning ceremony the icing on the cake for Seaman Sahara

Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), POIS Kelvin Hockey (photographer)

Location(s): Garden Island, NSW

Topic(s): Fleet Base East, HMAS Adelaide (L01)

Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel Operations Sahara McLellan of NUSHIP Adelaide conducts her normal duties in the Ship's Office. (photo: POIS Kelvin Hockey)
Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel Operations Sahara McLellan of NUSHIP Adelaide conducts her normal duties in the Ship's Office.

Just over a year into her Navy career, Seaman Sahara McLellan from central Maitland will mark a career highlight this week, cutting the commissioning cake when NUSHIP Adelaide ship is brought into service on Friday.
 
Adelaide,
the second and final Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) built for the Royal Australian Navy by Navantia, will be commissioned alongside Garden Island, Sydney. 
 
At 19, Seaman McLellan is the youngest member of the crew of 400 and is employed as a Maritime Logistics Personnel Operations sailor. She says it is an honour to have a role in the commissioning ceremony.
 
"It'll be a really good moment in my career. I'm a bit nervous, but it'll be a great thing to look back on. Being able to say that I cut the commissioning cake with the Captain is a huge honour," she said.
 
Since joining the amphibious assault ship in October, Seaman McLellan says she has been kept on her toes.
 
"Adelaide is such a big ship that at first I kept getting lost. Life onboard involves some pretty long days. We have such a big crew – it's challenging looking after 400 people's administration. I am really enjoying it though as I work in a great team. The ship is so advanced and new, it's great to see the latest technology," she said.
 
Seaman McLellan grew up right on the Hunter River and attended St John's Primary School before entering St Peter's High School and St Mary's for Years 11 and 12.  She played centre for the Maitland RSL netball club and says she followed her brother into the Navy.
 
"My older brother Cody joined when he was 19 and spent 6 years as an Electronics Technician in the Navy, mostly onboard HMAS Kanimbla. Seeing him have new experiences and the possibilities of travelling the world was inspiring."
 
"Cody is coming to the commissioning and bringing his baby Paxton and his partner, Able Seaman Bree Davis. My mum and my best friend are also coming and my dad will come to the family day. It will be really great to share this with them," Seaman McLellan said.
 
After the ship commissions, Sahara is looking forward to going to sea.
 
"I'm really looking forward to doing trials next year and spending more time at sea. As I'm pretty new to the Navy, I'm doing a lot of things for the first time – which is really exciting," Seaman McLellan said.
 
"One day I'd love to do RIMPAC and a Gulf trip. I want to get in there and do as much as I can."
 
With Christmas not far away, Sahara says she is looking forward to coming home and catching up with friends and extended family.
 
"My aunt's just opened a new café, Sweet Retreat in the Hunter Mall, which I'm looking forward to visiting. I also can't wait to see my poodles Fifi and Pierre, pug Louie and cat Biscuit," she said.
 
Adelaide
is a 27,000 tonne Landing Helicopter Dock. Once in service, the ship can be employed in a broad spectrum of operations, ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, security and stability operations across the Indo-Pacific region, to defence of the nation.