Taking the weight in the Top End

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Max Logan (author), POIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Coonawarra, NT

Topic(s): HMAS Coonawarra, Change of Command

Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Coonawarra, Commander Viktor Pilicic, ADC, RAN, passes 'the weight', a symbol of command, to the new Commanding Officer, Commander Darren Rushworth, ADC, RAN, at HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin, NT. (photo: POIS Peter Thompson)
Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Coonawarra, Commander Viktor Pilicic, ADC, RAN, passes 'the weight', a symbol of command, to the new Commanding Officer, Commander Darren Rushworth, ADC, RAN, at HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin, NT.

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Coonawarra has handed over command during a clear lower deck ceremony at the Darwin establishment’s busy port.

Ship’s Company gathered to formally farewell Commander Viktor Pilicic after two years as CO with ‘the weight’ accepted by incoming CO, Commander Darren Rushworth. Taking the weight is a RAN tradition where accepting the responsibility and duties of a new role is symbolised in the form of an object.

The Commanding Officer of Coonawarra also takes on the role of Senior Australian Defence Force Officer (SADFO) for the Larrakeyah Defence Precinct and nearby Defence Establishment Berrimah.

CMDR Pilicic said his role in the North was a rewarding one.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve in Darwin over the last two years,” CMDR Pilicic said.

“Together we have achieved a great deal as Fleet Base North and in the process we have contributed to Navy’s ability to ‘fight and win at sea’.”

CMDR Rushworth returns to the Top End after serving in patrol boats, landing craft and the Sea Training Group at Coonawarra a number of years ago.

“It’s been a while since I last served in the North and I like what you’ve done with the place,” he said.

“The Navy mission continues and while the nature of business hasn’t changed, its character certainly has.”

“I look forward to progressing the Larrakeyah Redevelopment Project, seeing the construction and upgrade of new facilities, while we continue to support the maritime mission.”

HMAS Coonawarra is Navy’s busiest port in terms of ship movements, a vital gateway to northern neighbours as well as a base for border integrity operations.