Navy front and centre at Rottnest festival

Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author)

Location(s): Rottnest Island, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Community Engagement

HMAS Stirling sailors with members of the Westralian Great War Living History Society who participated in the Rottnest Island Heritage Festival in Western Australia. (photo: Unknown)
HMAS Stirling sailors with members of the Westralian Great War Living History Society who participated in the Rottnest Island Heritage Festival in Western Australia.

The Western Australia Navy Community Engagement Team went offshore recently when it participated in the Rottnest Island Heritage Festival.

The festival, which is held annually, celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Rottnest Island which is situated about 18km from Perth.

HMAS Stirling’s Commanding Officer, Captain Angela Bond said given the island’s military history, it was fitting that Australian Defence Force personnel were involved in the festival.

“Rottnest Island would have played a key role in the defence of Fremantle Port had it been required during WWII,” Captain Bond said.

“With a number of gun emplacements, barracks and various other defence structures, the island has strong military links which HMAS Stirling, through our Community Engagement team, is proud to be a part of.”

Rottnest also has an extensive colonial history, which is brought to life by its colonial settlement which remains intact.

Its wild coastline and various reefs have also claimed their fair share of victims over the years, with the surrounding waters being littered with shipwrecks from different eras.

Navy’s display proved to be one of the major drawcards of the day, with hundreds of people stopping off to chat with members about various aspects of Navy life.

More than 10,000 visitors were estimated to have visited the island during the festival, with many of them being children on school holidays.