The 138-metre-long warship berthed alongside Station Pier today, ahead of a four-day port visit to say goodbye to the city where she was built.
Melbourne’s crew of more than 180 officers and sailors will exercise their Freedom of Entry to the city tomorrow at 11am, by marching up Swanston Street towards Town Hall.
Commanding Officer Commander Marcus Buttler said the visit would be bittersweet with the Ship’s service soon coming to an end, but his crew were proud to show the community what the ship could do and had achieved over the past 27 years.
“HMAS Melbourne and her crew have never stopped working hard, deploying overseas for most of 2018 and 2019, and we appreciate the opportunity to host the people of her namesake city just as they’ve welcomed us back to Melbourne time and time again,” Commander Buttler said.
“The Navy and Melbourne share a long history with all of our current frigates, and both of our Landing Helicopter Docks were either entirely or partly built at Williamstown.
Most of our crew also trained as new sailors nearby at HMAS Cerberus,” he said.
Melbourne native and one of the ship’s Officers of the Watch, Lieutenant Mollie Burns, said it was exciting to bring Melbourne to her hometown for the final time.
“We’ve had a big year and I feel proud to be able to go sail into my home city on this ship one last time before she decommissions,” Lieutenant Burns said.
“Our deployments over the past year have taken us far from home but I’ll be bringing my family aboard to see where I’ve been living on deployment and what I do in the Navy first-hand,” she said.
HMAS Melbourne was commissioned in 1992 and sailed more than 900,000 nautical miles throughout her service life.
She deployed on operations to the Middle East eight times and earned battle honours for service in East Timor and the Persian Gulf.
She recently completed a four month deployment through north Asia, including conducting international maritime surveillance operations to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution sanctions against North Korea.