Canberra's open day draws big crowds

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), LSIS Helen Frank (photographer)

Location(s): Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart locals Rhonda and Ross Colley on the flight deck of HMAS Canberra during the public open day. (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
Hobart locals Rhonda and Ross Colley on the flight deck of HMAS Canberra during the public open day.

The Navy’s newest ship, HMAS Canberra was the hottest ticket in town when she opened her gangway to the public in Hobart on the Anzac Day weekend.

Locals lined up from 7.30am to ensure they didn’t miss out on touring the 27,500 tonne, 230 metre long warship.

During the open day, 6,120 people worked their way around the ship, viewing aircraft on the flight deck, the medical facilities and well dock.

Ross Colley and his wife Rhonda said the ship and her crew made a big impression.

“To come onboard a serving warship is very exciting.  

"There’s certainly a lot of technology and it’s been interesting to see the helicopters that operate from this vessel.  

"It is a wonderful opportunity that the Navy has given the public today,” Mr Colley said.

The scale of the ship and her capability also made an impact.

“It was well worth the wait.  

"The dynamics, the size and the state of the equipment is amazing,” Mrs Colley said.

“The thing I didn’t realise was how well equipped the ship is medically, the two operating theatres are impressive.”

In addition to two operating theatres, Canberra as an eight bed Critical Care Unit, a variety of wards, pathology, radiology, x-ray, pharmacy and dental facilities.

Leaading Seaman Marine Technician Troy Russell was assigned to the boarding party display.  He said he enjoyed sharing his Navy experience with the community.

“It’s been quite exciting.  

"Talking to the public has been pretty awesome. 

"Some of the older kids have been interested in the jobs we do onboard, so it has been great to give them some insight,” Leading Seaman Russell said.

Commander Nathan Robb, Commander Logistics, who coordinated the open day, said the ship appreciated the warm reception from Tasmania.

 “The interest and support from the Hobart community during our six day port visit has been phenomenal. 

"The open day was a good opportunity to give back to a city that has been so friendly to us.”

“The ship is an impressive capability for Australia, and one that all our taxes have paid for.  It is important for us to give the public a chance to see their ship and what she can do,” Commander Robb said.

Canberra is one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world.  She is also designed to be able to conduct large-scale humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

Prior to the Hobart port visit, the ship conducted cold weather aspects of First of Class Flight Trials around Storm Bay, Tasmania.