Indigenous sailors spearhead Tall Ships

Published on Mr Michael Brooke (author), ABIS Cassie McBride (photographer), ABIS Chantell Bianchi (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, NSW

Topic(s): Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP), STS Young Endeavour

Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour sails into Sydney Harbour with the fleet of Tall Ships as part of the International Fleet Review 2013. (photo: ABIS Cassie McBride)
Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour sails into Sydney Harbour with the fleet of Tall Ships as part of the International Fleet Review 2013.

The Tall Ships Entry into Sydney Harbour on October 3 which kicked off the International Fleet Review had a distinctly Navy flavour.

Navy training ship STS Young Endeavour spearheaded the Tall Ships procession through Sydney Heads and into the iconic harbour along with Tall Ship South Passage, which was crewed by graduates of the Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP).

Young Endeavour and South Passage led a procession of 10 local and six international tall ships, which provided a hint of the grandeur and historical significance of the First Fleet sailing into the harbour in 1788.

The Tall Ships formed two lines abreast as they proceeded under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and to the Tall Ship Precinct at Cockle Bay and Darling Harbour.

The magnificent procession triggered an outpouring of euphoria among the spectators which provided an insight into the excitement that was steadily building for the IFR and the first Fleet Entry centenary celebration the next day.

The cheers from excited spectators and pleasure craft for the Tall Ships reached a crescendo when South Passage berthed at Darling Harbour, where she was greeted by 20 members of the Defence Indigenous Dance troupe.

South Passage’s DIDP crew were welcomed by 20 indigenous sailors who performed the traditional Welcome, Lyrebird and Black Cockatoo dances.

The Navy Indigenous Performance Group welcome Australia's tall ship, South Passage with a song and dance as general public watch on during the International Fleet Review celebrations at Darling Harbour, Sydney.

The Navy Indigenous Performance Group welcome Australia's tall ship, South Passage with a song and dance as general public watch on during the International Fleet Review celebrations at Darling Harbour, Sydney.


The DIDP-N is a seven month program that provides Indigenous youth in Far North Queensland with education, training, life skills and confidence to embark on a career in the Royal Australian Navy, as well as skills, which are useful on return to their own towns and communities.

Half of the DIDP-N trainees aged 17-25 years come from Bamaga, Thursday, Boigu and Yam islands, Seisia and as far as Saibai Island.

The crew of Young Endeavour were elated to have had the honour to lead the Tall Ships Entry.

LEUT Caitlin Guest said sailing through Sydney Heads and to be greeted by hundreds of pleasure craft all hooting their sirens and horns was an amazing experience.

“The weather was really rough, but it was a really memorable experience for all the crew,” she said.

LEUT Guest said it was a huge honour for the Navy training sail ship to serve as the flag ship for the 15 other tall ships.

The honour of leading the Tall Ships Entry followed Young Endeavour’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of her arrival in Sydney Harbour on January 25, as a gift given from Britain to mark the Bicentenary in 1988.

The Tall Ships of the World included the steel-hulled Cape Horner Picton Castle (Canada); the class A tall ship Lord Nelson (England); the ex-fishing vessel Tecla (Netherlands); James Cook’s magnificent HMB Endeavour replica (Sydney); the 100-foot gaff rigged schooner South Passage (Brisbane); the Norwegian-built 1939 square rigger Coral Trekker (Airlie Beach); the 1911 Bark Europa (Netherlands); the iron-hulled barque James Craig (Sydney); and the Deptford built Brig Lady Nelson replica (Hobart).

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/IFR13003.