Sydney celebrates 100 years of the Royal Australian Navy

Published on LCDR Chloe Wootten (author), POIS Paul Berry (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, NSW

Topic(s): International Fleet Review

The Sydney skyline comes alive during the Pyrotechnics Display and Lightshow Spectacular for the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review 2013. (photo: POIS Paul Berry)
The Sydney skyline comes alive during the Pyrotechnics Display and Lightshow Spectacular for the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review 2013.

A pyrotechnics and lightshow spectacular was promised and what a show it was.

Sydney Harbour was transformed into a tribute to the Navy as the city stopped to commemorate 100 years since the first Royal Australian Navy Fleet sailed through Sydney Heads in 1913.

Over a million people swarmed to vantage points around Sydney whilst others viewed proceedings online and on television as Sydney landmarks paid homage to a century of service.

It was a visual onslaught for those on the water’s edge, with Royal Australian Navy helicopters starting proceedings, flying down the length of the harbour with lights on the tips of rotor blades and flares fired from three Seahawks signalling the beginning of the show.

The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge became screens for a 30 minute tableau of Navy past, present and future while pyrotechnics were launched from ships up and down the length of the iconic waterway.

Sailors and officers lined the upper decks of the ships in ceremonial uniform, standing at attention as the sky lit up overhead.

With spotlights bathing the ships in a rainbow of hues, coordinated with music, the service men and women at times became part of the show, even firing blanks from 50 calibre machine guns in an impressively choreographed acknowledgement to the senior service.

Commemoration was also a significant part of the evening, with names and faces of Royal Australian Navy personnel who lost their lives during their service projected on to the sails of the Opera House in honour of their sacrifice.

The Navy has been a part of Sydney since its formation and it was fitting that the city could celebrate with Navy personnel and recognise the service of generations of men and women.