The Navy’s newest warship, HMAS Adelaide, took centre stage for the Sydney Australia Day celebrations, hosting the Governor of NSW, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, AC DSC (Rtd), NSW Australian of the Year finalists and other Australia Day Council guests.
The 27,500 tonne ship dwarfed other ships in harbour as she took prime position in Circular Quay for the midday ‘Salute to Australia’.
Commanding Officer HMAS Adelaide, Captain Paul Mandziy, said it was a proud day for the ship and the Navy as a whole.
“We only commissioned at the end of 2015, so it was the first opportunity we, as a ship’s company, have had to present our ship to the people of Sydney and Australia.
“We are proud to participate and help celebrate our national day with the Australian community,” Captain Mandziy said.
With the Governor embarked in Adelaide, the amphibious ship was central to the 'Salute to Australia', with a 24-man guard from the ship’s company giving the Vice Regal salute.
The Governor also awarded Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Damien Clayton an Australia Day Medallion. This is the second time Chief Petty Officer Clayton has received such an award.
“I was completely surprised and felt very privileged," he said.
"But without the support of the Marine Engineering Department and my shipmates, I would not have this achievement."
Also onboard to help celebrate Australia Day was a children’s choir, which sang ‘We are Australian' and the Sydney-based Army Band who performed the National Anthem.
A 21-gun salute from North Sydney and an flyover by Royal Australian Air Force ‘F18 Hornet’ fast jet signalled the conclusion of the salute.
Once the formal celebrations had concluded, members of the NSW Cricket team took part in a game of ‘backyard cricket’ on Adelaide’s flight-deck.
Adelaide crew member, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Kellie Nash, said it was terrific to be involved.
"This is my first time to be posted on a ship and go to sea," she said.
"I am from Cooma, NSW, so being on a ship in Sydney Harbour on Australia Day is like Christmas again!
“Meeting some of the NSW finalists for Australian of the Year was inspirational.
“We also had a great view to watch the tug and yacht ballet in the harbour, which was an impressive display of seamanship,” Able Seaman Nash said.
HMAS Adelaide put on hold her training off the east cost of Australia to take part in the national celebrations. She will return to sea to continue with this training and commence her work-up cycle.