Tobruk home to heroes' farewell

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), POIS Ollie Garside (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

HMAS Tobruk sails into her home port at Fleet Base East, Sydney for the last time before decommissioning. (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
HMAS Tobruk sails into her home port at Fleet Base East, Sydney for the last time before decommissioning.

The service of HMAS Tobruk, and all who have served in her, has been recognised by the highest levels of government today, with mentions in Federal Parliament coinciding with her final voyage.

The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader made specific statements to acknowlegde the efforts of the amphibious workhorse, noting she lived up to her motto of 'faithful and strong'.

Tobruk sailed through Sydney Heads back to her home port at Garden Island for the last time today. The amphibious heavy lift is scheduled to decommission on 31 July, after 35 years of service in the Royal Australian Navy.

Commanding Officer Tobruk Commander Leif Maxfield said the final passage was an emotional time for the ship’s company of 167.

“Today signifies that the end of the ship’s seagoing life is near,” Commander Maxfield said.

“The people who have served in Tobruk over the years have performed admirably, responding to the call of duty, whenever tasked by Government to do so. 

“There was a reflective mood onboard the ship as we crossed the threshold of Sydney Heads for the last time, realising the extent of what the ship has achieved in the 35 years of service to her country,” he said.

Tobruk was commissioned on 23 April 1981 and is the second ship to bear the name. During her service life, the ship has supported a number of humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions including the most recent, Operation PACIFIC ASSIST 2015 following Tropical Cyclone Pam which devastated Vanuatu earlier this year.

“While we will farewell Tobruk, it is also an exciting time to be in the Navy. 

"We now look to the future with a bold new capability, having had our first of the two Landing Helicopter Docks, HMAS Canberra, entering into service in December 2014,” Commander Maxfield said.

NUSHIP Adelaide, the second Landing Helicopter Dock is scheduled for commissioning later this year.

Imagery of Tobruk is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20151779