Navy reaffirms operational importance of its Brisbane base

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Sarah West (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer), LAC Brenton Kwaterski (photographer)

Location(s): Bulimba, Queensland

The commissioning crew of HMAS Moreton. (photo: LAC Brenton Kwaterski)
The commissioning crew of HMAS Moreton.

The Royal Australian Navy commissioned an establishment for the first time in 38 years on Saturday, starting a new chapter in its 105 year history in Brisbane.

Navy Headquarters - South Queensland, which is nestled on the Brisbane River at Bulimba, was commissioned HMAS Moreton as a nod to Navy’s proud history in the area. It was the first time the Royal Australian Navy had ever commissioned a headquarters establishment. 

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett said the newly commissioned Moreton was the third establishment in South East Queensland to carry that name. 

“HMAS Moreton was first commissioned in October 1942 as the base for the wartime Fairmile Motor Launches which operated from the Brisbane River,” Vice Admiral Barrett said. 

Moreton was an important point of entry to the Navy for those thousands of Queenslanders who served in the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve as ‘hostilities only’ sailors and officers.

“These were young Australians who ‘answered the call’ and deployed all over the world to defend our liberty, serving Australia and their state of Queensland. Many of them lost their lives in action, and we remember them with affection and with pride.”

Vice Admiral Barrett said members of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service were also based at Moreton, where they made a significant contribution as coders, telegraphists, signallers and writers.  

“Carrying on the Moreton name is a mark of respect to this history and these men and women,” he said. 

The Royal Australian Navy Band and Navy members of Australia’s Federation Guard joined the ship’s company on parade for the commissioning ceremony, as Moreton became the first Navy establishment in nearly four decades to be commissioned. 

Seaman Cryptologic Systems Paige Blake, from western Sydney, was one of the members of ship’s company, proudly on parade on commissioning day. She is based at Moreton before she starts her specialist training. 

“The commissioning of HMAS Moreton, in Brisbane, marked the first new Naval Base in Australia since 1978,” she said.

“Being a part of this commissioning was a really big honour – the Chief of Navy attended, along with the Governor of Queensland. We did a march past, and a traditional three-cheer salute,” Seaman Blake said.

Queensland’s Governor, Paul De Jersey, performed the role of Commissioning Officer - inspecting the guard and band with a backdrop of two Minehunting vessels, HMA Ships Gascoyne and Yarra, berthed alongside.

Congratulating the sailors and officers on parade, Governor De Jersey said Queenslanders were delighted to welcome HMAS Moreton to the region.  

“I state with confidence that Queenslanders will feel pride and reassurance at the sight of the Australian White Ensign flying again beside the Brisbane River, along with HMAS Moreton’s commissioning pennant,” Governor De Jersey said.

More images are available at the Defence Image Gallery