Historic memorial mast made shipshape for Fleet Review

Published on Mr Ben Wickham (author), ABIS Jesse Rhynard (photographer)

Location(s): Bradleys Head, Sydney

Topic(s): International Fleet Review, HMAS Sydney (I)

The Royal Australian Navy Band stand in formation as guests and media take part in a special ceremony for the rededication of the HMAS Sydney (I) mast, at Bradleys Head. (photo: ABIS Jesse Rhynard)
The Royal Australian Navy Band stand in formation as guests and media take part in a special ceremony for the rededication of the HMAS Sydney (I) mast, at Bradleys Head.

The Royal Australian Navy and the NSW Government today unveiled the restored mast of HMAS Sydney (I) – one of Australia’s most important monuments to ships and crew lost in war – at Bradleys Head on Sydney Harbour.

The mast comes from the light cruiser Sydney (I), which served the nation from 1913-1928. It was removed from the ship following her decommissioning and in 1934 was erected at the southernmost tip of Bradleys Head, in recognition of the ship’s WWI victory against the German raider Emden.

The mast and surrounding site has just been upgraded as part of a joint venture between Navy and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, said the mast bears great historical significance to Navy, and the memorial honours the memory of all ships and crew lost while serving Australia.

“All naval ships, on entering Sydney Harbour, honour Navy's war dead by saluting the mast and the ensign that flies from it,” Rear Admiral Barrett said.

Commander Australian Fleet, RADM Tim Barrett gives his opening address to invited guests and media, during the HMAS Sydney (I) mast rededication ceremony at Bradleys Head.

Commander Australian Fleet, RADM Tim Barrett gives his opening address to invited guests and media, during the HMAS Sydney (I) mast rededication ceremony at Bradleys Head.


The NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage, Robyn Parker, said the restoration of the mast was part of upgrade works to the Bradleys Head precinct.

“The HMAS Sydney (I) mast is a deeply significant part of the precinct, and the NSW Government is proud to support the preservation of one of Navy’s most important cultural and historical icons,” Ms Parker said.

“The mast is important to all Australians, as it came from a warship whose distinguished service in World War I demonstrated our nation’s fledgling capacity to govern itself both independently and successfully,” she said.

Member for North Shore and naval wife, Jillian Skinner, said the Naval Memorial Walk and commemorative area holds great significance for the Navy and local community.

“It is rewarding to see the restoration and redevelopment of this monumental site paying homage to the past and teaching future generations about Australia’s rich naval history. I pay tribute to all who have joined the partnership to see the Bradleys Head project completed,” Mrs Skinner said.

The mast has been upgraded ahead of the Navy’s International Fleet Review (IFR), and all ships will formally salute the mast upon entry to Sydney Harbour on 4 October 2013. The IFR is the Navy’s signature commemorative event for 2013 and celebrates the centenary of the first entry of the Australian Navy’s fleet into Sydney Harbour.

Tickets are on sale for three vantage points, including Bradleys Head, Shark Island and Clark Island, either online at www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/ifr or by calling 13000 PARKS (13000 72757).

Non-ticketed locations throughout the IFR include, Nielsen Park, South Head, North Head, Middle Head and Gap Bluff. Further information on the IFR is available at www.navy.gov.au/ifr.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/IFR%2013040.