HMAS Warramunga 'Red Dog' expedition

Published on LEUT Andrew Parnwell (author and photographer), SBLT Dionette Wilson (author)

Location(s): Dampier, WA, Millstream-Chichester National Park, WA, Mount Whaleback Mine, WA, Port Hedland, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Warramunga (F152)

HMAS Warramunga crew before the Mount Whaleback mining tour, Newman, WA. (photo: LEUT Andrew Parnwell)
HMAS Warramunga crew before the Mount Whaleback mining tour, Newman, WA.

Ten members of HMAS Warramunga's ship's company were given the chance to explore the Pilbara Region, during a recent transit of the North West Shelf.

The three-day adventure-training expedition, fondly code named ‘Red Dog’, saw the group of 10 explore a remote area of the north west of Australia after completing Exercise RED RAPTOR, and before deploying on Operation RESOLUTE.

Initially embarking in Warramunga's RHIB, the group were dropped at the Port of Dampier, with the plan to spend three days travelling overland to meet the ship at her next port.

“Arriving at Dampier, our group had time to pose for a picture with the statue of Red Dog, before loading two utes and starting the trek,” said Sub Lieutenant Dionette Wilson.

HMAS Warramunga expedition group at the Red Dog statue in Dampier, WA.

HMAS Warramunga expedition group at the Red Dog statue in Dampier, WA.

“Our first stop was a swim in the beautiful lake in Millstream-Chichester National Park, before we headed to Karijini National Park and set up camp for the night.

“Camping under the stars and cooking a feast was fantastic. We had a few laughs and shared some stories. It was a great chance to bond.”

HMAS Warramunga expedition group swimming at the Millstream-Chichester National Park, WA.

HMAS Warramunga expedition group swimming at the Millstream-Chichester National Park, WA.

“The next day we visited Dales Gorge, hiking past waterfalls to Circular Pool at the bottom of the gorge. The clear aqua blue water stood out against the backdrop of the red rocks,” said Sub Lieutenant Wilson.

Despite seeing some amazing natural sites, one of the highlights was meeting the locals and touring the Mount Whaleback Mine.

“In the town of Newman, we joined a local for a game of cards and heard all about his mining career, which while entertaining, dispelled any ideas I had about the grass being greener in the mining industry.”

“Our tour of Mount Whaleback Mine was fascinating. It is the worlds largest open cut iron ore mine and gave us a good insight into how iron ore is mined and exported,” said Sub Lieutenant Wilson.

“On our final night before rejoining the ship at Port Hedland, we camped at a station and watched the sun set over the desert. It was the perfect end to our adventure,” she said.