Change of command for Navy's flagship

Published on LEUT Tony White (author), ABIS Ryan McKenzie (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), Change of Command

Captain Ashley Papp, CSC, RAN, left, passes the weight to Commanding Officer Captain Terry Morrison, DSM, RAN upon completion of the HMAS Canberra Commanding Officer supersession. (photo: ABIS Ryan McKenzie)
Captain Ashley Papp, CSC, RAN, left, passes the weight to Commanding Officer Captain Terry Morrison, DSM, RAN upon completion of the HMAS Canberra Commanding Officer supersession.

Captain Terry Morrison has joined HMAS Canberra as her fourth Commanding Officer, having previously served as Director Destroyers - a job which had him in charge of the Hobart Class project.

As a Principal Warfare Officer, Captain Morrison has spent most of his career at sea.

In addition to his time as Executive Officer of HMAS Newcastle, Captain Morrison has commanded HMA Ships Geraldton, Gawler and Darwin. He also exercised command of the Australian Navy Training Team ashore in Iraq as part of Operation SLIPPER.

Captain Morrison takes over from Captain Ashley Papp, who completed his command after serving more than two and a half years in one of the most demanding seagoing command positions in the Navy.

At the changeover ceremony, Canberra’s Executive Officer, Commander Brett Westcott, “welcomed the new and farewelled the old” commanding officers.

“As you might expect, Chief of Navy puts considerable effort into selecting all his Commanding Officers.

“I can only guess at the process for selecting the CO for his capital ship, but as has been demonstrated by the respective biographies of both Captain Morrison and Captain Papp, it is a selection made with scrutiny.

“We have been blessed with exceptionally experienced and tactically proficient officers,” Commander Westcott said.

“In the case of Captain Papp, I have to acknowledge his experience as he relinquishes command.

“I’ll not list all his sea postings, but I'll highlight that having commanded HMA Ships Brunei, Choules and Canberra, he’s spent nearly seven years of his career commanding ships at sea.

“In his two and a half years in command, Canberra has steamed over 53,000 nautical miles (nearly 100,000 kilometres) and has been underway for over 5800 hours.

“In the course of that time, there has been 22 port visits, several extended maintenance periods, one docking and one cracking deployment. You have embarked thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles,” Commander Westcott said to Captain Papp.

“Australia’s amphibious capability has continued to mature on your watch, much of it with your direct input and steerage.

“There has been considerable energy, effort and heartache expended in the pursuit of moving our capability forward, and for that the Navy owes you a debt of gratitude,” he said.