Duty first for HMAS Melbourne

Published on Mr Michael Brooke (author)

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Melbourne (F05)

CO HMAS Melbourne, CMDR Brian Schlegel during a Replenishment at Sea with Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria in the Middle East Area of Operations. (photo: ABIS Jayson Tufrey)
CO HMAS Melbourne, CMDR Brian Schlegel during a Replenishment at Sea with Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria in the Middle East Area of Operations.

Despite the national excitement surrounding the Fleet Entry and the International Fleet Review (IFR), it was a case of duty first for HMAS Melbourne and her dedicated ship’s company.

If not deployed on Operation SLIPPER, Melbourne would have enjoyed the Fleet Entry as one of the Navy’s original seven warships.

However, the significance of the IFR was not lost on Melbourne’s ship’s company, who paused to reflect on its historical importance.

CO Melbourne CMDR Brian Schlegel said his crew was focused on the operation, but their thoughts did gravitate towards the events taking place in Sydney during the IFR.

“The ability to be part of an historic event on this scale does not come around very often,” he said.

“One hundred years ago the entry into Sydney Harbour would have been a spectacular sight. To come through Sydney Heads into a fairly new nation, to a brand new Navy, would have been something to remember.”

He said the Fleet Entry in 1913 marked the beginning of the RAN and Australia's diplomatic reach in the region, but the centenary celebration was special for a different reason.

“As we commence the Asian Century and the shift of influence from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, the 2013 IFR symbolises Australia's place in the world,” he said.

“This new era marks our deep desire as Australians to contribute to our regional community and the world community.”

HMAS Melbourne (III) imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at
http://images.navy.gov.au/fotoweb/archives/5011-Royal%20Australian%20Navy/?215=HMAS%20Melbourne.