Handing over the weight

Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), LSIS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson RAN, hands the ship's hub to Commander Rebecca Jeffcoat RAN, during the HMAS Kuttabul Command Handover Ceremony attended by ships company in Sydney. (photo: LSIS Nina Fogliani)
Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson RAN, hands the ship's hub to Commander Rebecca Jeffcoat RAN, during the HMAS Kuttabul Command Handover Ceremony attended by ships company in Sydney.

Personnel formed up on HMAS Kuttabul quarterdeck to farewell Commander Todd Willson as he handed over the role of Commanding Officer to Commander Rebecca Jeffcoat on 23 January.

Commander Willson assumed command in early 2012 and reflected on his busy three years in the top job.

“It has been demanding, humbling and hugely rewarding - Kuttabul is a very busy and complex establishment.

"Not only do we have almost 2,000 personnel, we are home to the largest Personnel Support Unit in Australia and have significant buildings and infrastructure on base,” Commander Willson said.

“We are also the historical heart and hub for the Navy in Sydney and frequently host significant visits.”

“In 2012 we were visited by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2013 we were integral to the International Fleet Review and celebrated the centenary of Kuttabul commissioning and in 2014 we supported the commissioning of HMAS Canberra.  

"This was in addition to significant building works, the construction of new entries, the removal of the Hammerhead Crane and wharf repairs. These have all been part of the rich tapestry of life here at Kuttabul,” he said.

“I have been very fortunate to work with such a great bunch of professional people.”

Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson RAN, hands the ship's hub to Commander Rebecca Jeffcoat RAN, during the HMAS Kuttabul Command Handover Ceremony attended by ships company in Sydney.

Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson RAN, hands the ship's hub to Commander Rebecca Jeffcoat RAN, during the HMAS Kuttabul Command Handover Ceremony attended by ships company in Sydney.

After accepting the weight, Commander Jeffcoat acknowledged the big shoes she will have to fill.

“I was once told that the hallmark of a successful tenure was leaving command in a better condition than what you found it. Commander Willson will be a tough act to follow, particularly given as Kuttabul was awarded the Governor's Cup for excellence last year.”

“I feel very privileged to be standing here. This has long been a goal of mine and I am humbled to be given command of such a prestigious and demanding establishment,” she said.

“I will constantly remain mindful that we exist to support the ships getting to sea in support of operations and we are the face of Navy in Sydney.”

“I look forward to working with the knowledgeable, professional and capable people based here at Kuttabul and will endeavour to provide you with a supportive and positive workplace,” Commander Jeffcoat said.

“In the Aboriginal language Kuttabul means ‘wonderful’, we will strive to live up to our name.”