HMAS Melbourne tests endurance

Published on LCDR Julian Brett (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Brooklyn, New South Wales, Balgowlah Heights, New South Wales

Topic(s): HMAS Melbourne (F05)

(L-R) Sub Lieutenant Katrina Burkett, Able Seaman Jacob Macgregor, Able Seaman Blake Ridge and Chief Petty Officer Len Harrison take time out for photo on the Oxfam Trail Walk Challenge. (photo: Unknown)
(L-R) Sub Lieutenant Katrina Burkett, Able Seaman Jacob Macgregor, Able Seaman Blake Ridge and Chief Petty Officer Len Harrison take time out for photo on the Oxfam Trail Walk Challenge.

A four-person team from the ship's company of HMAS Melbourne raised $3,000 when they pushed their personal limits in the Oxfam Australia 100 kilometre Trail Walk Challenge.

Led by Sub Lieutenant Katrina Burkett the team set off from the Sydney suburb of Brooklyn, hiking to Balgowlah Heights, with the aim of raising and awareness and money for the impoverished.

With only 48 hours to complete the course, the team comprising Chief Petty Officer Electronics Technician Len Harrison, Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Blake Ridge and Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Jacob Macgregor, was pushed as they negotiated gullies, hills and rocky outcrops by day and night.

“I’d never walked this far before but I was confident that I could make it because of the regular physical training the ship has been doing. We managed to finish in 40 hours,” Able Seaman Ridge said. 

Able Seaman Macgregor said it was tough going towards the end with the physical and mental fatigue kicking in. 

“I always knew we would finish the hike. Good team work, fitness and resilience all helped. We also had a great support crew, which helped us through,” he said.

Chief Petty Officer Harrison will have a lasting memory of this challenge spending his 55th birthday sacrificing his time and effort for the cause of people less fortunate.

The $3,000 raised by the Melbourne team will be allocated to projects in 18 different countries, many of which are Australia’s close neighbours, like Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

Melbourne
is currently conducting training off the south coast of New South Wales. She will celebrate her 25th anniversary of commissioning in 2017.