Melville turns a ship’s tour into an opportunity to build Navy’s workforce

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Simon Brown (author and photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Melville (A246), Navy Gap Year

HMAS Melville proceeding to sea. (photo: )
HMAS Melville proceeding to sea.

Editor’s Note: Please note that this activity took place before COVID-19 social distancing restrictions were put in place. Defence is currently following whole-of-government guidance from the Department of Health in relation to COVID-19. For more information on Defence’s response to COVID-19, visit

A ship’s tour of HMAS Melville recently turned into a sea training deployment opportunity for six gap year sailors from Cairns and Darwin, resulting in some signing up for a Navy career.

Executive Officer of HMAS Melville, Lieutenant Commander Adrian Eddy capitalised on the request to provide a ship’s tour to some gap year students by investigating the potential to enhance the gap year experience and take the sailor’s to sea during the ship’s next deployment.

“I knew we had some capacity to manage bunk space for the deployment and saw an opportunity to provide invaluable exposure to seagoing life for these sailors,” Lieutenant Commander Eddy said.

After plans and arrangements were secured, the six gap year students joined the ship, embedding themselves across all departments. Where they had a specific interest, Melville Command ensured opportunities were made to work alongside sailors in their potential future profession.

Melville was determined to provide Seaman Gap Year sailors with a positive experience of life at sea,” the ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Michael Kumpis, said.

“We encouraged them to explore the different departments on-board to highlight the many opportunities that a career in the Royal Australian Navy can offer.”

Seaman Gap Year Eliza Wykamp was already considering a career as a Navy chef before joining Melville and relished the opportunity to get hands-on experience at sea.

“Getting the opportunity to go to sea and experience the satisfaction of working alongside Navy chefs to put on great meals has reinforced my desire to follow this career path,” Seaman Wykamp said.

Before joining Melville not all Gap Years had found their niche within Navy and were still considering other careers options. For Seaman Gap Year Breeanna Trembath, this was the case.

“While I enjoyed spending time travelling between bases and among the various departments at HMAS Cairns, I hadn’t yet found a role that was right for me,” Seaman Trembath said.

“On joining Melville we were made to feel at home and enjoyed being part of a motivated ship’s company, which really swayed my decision to stay with Navy.”

Seaman Trembath now intends to sign up for a career in Navy’s newest category as a Maritime Personnel Operator (MPO).

The Navy Gap Year Program provides young Australians an opportunity to experience a broad range of sailor roles that Navy has to offer, working as fully integrated members of Navy ships, establishments and resident units.

Navy Gap Year sailors gain unparalleled work and life experience and form friendships while receiving a generous salary and all the benefits of working in the Australian Defence Force, like medical and dental coverage.