The people of Cairns will have a rare opportunity to tour HMAS Parramatta comes alongside Trinity Wharf and opens its gangway to the public on Monday, 17 April.
One of the sailors who will be on board to show people around is former Cairns local, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Thomas Ketchell.
“I am extremely proud to be a member of ship’s company in HMAS Parramatta and I have been given some fantastic opportunities to see not only Australia but the world,” he said.
Able Seaman Ketchell’s role includes seamanship, gunnery, weapons handling, boats and navigation.
Parramatta is one of the most potent warships in the world, capable of conducting air, surface and undersea warfare simultaneously.
The Anzac class frigate is in Cairns for the Easter long weekend after a busy and successful couple of months.
Parramatta rescued three South African sailors from their stricken yacht in huge seas off the West Australian coast most recently.
She had just finished participating in a high-end war fighting exercise with 13 warships and five aircraft from Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Australia.
Able Seaman Ketchell encouraged all to come along and learn more from the crew about how life in the Navy and how they defend Australia and its interests.
He said Navy had been a good career move for him.
After graduating from high school on Thursday Island, Able Seaman Ketchell began an electrical traineeship.
It wasn’t long, however, before the excitement and opportunities of the Navy enticed him to enlist.
Able Seaman Ketchell undertook initial training at HMAS Cerberus at the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School in Western Port, Victoria.
He then trained at the Boatswain Faculty in Cerberus, where he mastered the use of weapons such as the F88 Austeyr rifle, 9mm Browning pistol and the F89 Minimi.
Able Seaman Ketchell said he was looking forward to seeing his family in Cairns and is excited to represent the Navy.
Parramatta will open to the public on from 10am until 2pm. There will be a BBQ and the opportunity to buy ship souvenirs.