Homeward bound from life at sea

Published on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author), ABIS Craig Walton (photographer)

Location(s): Hobart

Topic(s): HMAS Hobart (D39)

Petty Officer Electronic Technician Nick Newman on the forecastle of HMAS Hobart. (photo: ABIS Craig Walton)
Petty Officer Electronic Technician Nick Newman on the forecastle of HMAS Hobart.
Originally from Devonport, Tasmania, Petty Officer Nick Newman’s career in the Navy has taken him to 34 countries. For this globetrotter, travel for the sake of work is normal, but he says sailing home to Tasmania with Australia’s newest warship is something extra special.
Nick is a Petty Officer Electronic Technician aboard HMAS Hobart which is visiting her namesake city for the first time.
He said Hobart has always given Navy ships an enthusiastic turnout but sailing into the harbour in HMAS Hobart was different.
“There’s something about sailing into a city your ship is named after, no matter which town or ship it is,” he said.
“I was quite excited to see the response of my fellow Tasmanians and I hope they’re incredibly proud of this amazing ship.”
“I joined the Navy in the year 2000 which is the last year that a ship named Hobart was a part of the fleet.”
Nick’s career has seen him serve in frigates HMA Ships Sydney and Adelaide before spending a year training in the United States.
He has been part of HMAS Hobart’s ship’s company since 2014, including during her construction in Adelaide, initial sea trials and commissioning.
“I always wanted to work on electronics and gain qualifications,” he said.
“I never thought I would end up working on missile systems in the most advanced warship in the fleet.”
Along the way, Nick’s career also introduced him to his wife, who was also a Navy member, and now they have two children.
Nick is hoping to use his time in port to see family and show his shipmates the view from Mount Wellington.
HMAS Hobart’s visit this weekend marks the first time a ship carrying the name has visited Hobart in almost 18 years with plenty of celebratory activities planned.
The ship will take centre place as the flagship during the 2018 Hobart Regatta, participate in a Freedom of Entry March through the city towards Town Hall and open its hatches to the public during an open day event on Monday.
HMAS Hobart is the first of three new guided missile destroyers for the Royal Australian Navy and the third ship to carry the name.
HMAS Hobart will spend significant time at sea this year as she completes evaluations in the United States and becomes ready to deploy.