Families all at sea on HMAS Adelaide

Published on SBLT Mhairi-Clare Miriklis (author), POIS Paul McCallum (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney

HMAS Adelaide arrives in Sydney Harbour with families of ship's company that joined the crew for the transit from Adelaide to Sydney. (photo: POIS Paul McCallum)
HMAS Adelaide arrives in Sydney Harbour with families of ship's company that joined the crew for the transit from Adelaide to Sydney.

Over the past six weeks HMAS Adelaide has embarked over 1,400 military personnel as part of a series of amphibious exercises and strategic sealift tasks.

Adelaide’s ship’s company are used to having extra people on board, but there was something different about the group that embarked on the 26 June in Adelaide for the transit to Sydney. 

The additional personnel embarked in Adelaide were family members of Adelaide’s company.

This was a unique experience for the crew which gave them the opportunity to show their family members the day to day workings of a Navy ship whilst at sea, providing context for the many stories shared at home over the years. 

Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Amanda May said, “It is good for my Dad to be able to see what we do day to day”. 

Sub Lieutenant Jamie Williams explains that it is often hard to describe what my job entails when talking to my family, sometimes I feel like I’m speaking a different language.

“This voyage is a chance to breakdown the Royal Australian Navy language barrier and provides family members an insight into what life at sea is really like,” said Sub Lieutenant Williams.

In addition to shadowing their loved ones, family members had the opportunity to participate in many activities organised by ship’s company. 

The family members were able to participate in a F88 Austyer familiarisation weapon shoot, sea-ride in an Amphibious Assault Ship Landing Craft, receive tours of engineering spaces, the bridge and the hospital.

In addition to this the family members participated in a Damage Control Relay extravaganza, trivia nights and movie nights.

The Navy can be a challenging career that often results in large periods of time away from family and friends. 

This voyage provided an opportunity to give a perspective of the sacrifice made by both ship’s company and their families. 

Lieutenant Tom Veit said, “I am away from home a lot so this gives my family an insight into what I’m doing when I’m away from them”

After six weeks away from home, HMAS Adelaide and her family guests returned to Sydney on 30 June in high spirits. 

David Hayes, father of Able Seaman Combat Information Systems Mariah Hayes, said “I have had a great time onboard Adelaide and I would highly recommend this experience to all family members of Royal Australian Navy personnel”.  

This sentiment was shared by all family members lucky enough to spend the three days at sea onboard the newest ship in the fleet.