More than 5000 people turned out to get a taste of life in the military when Larrakeyah Defence Precinct, Darwin, held an Open Day with Navy’s HMAS Coonawarra, combining the activity with Northern Territory Navy Week.
The crowds lined up to tour Armidale class Patrol Boats, take rides in Navy’s jet boats and view the base’s ship-lift capability.
However, the performance by the Ceremonial Sunset Guard accompanied by the Royal Australian Navy Band proved by far the most popular among those who attended.
Commanding Officer Coonawarra Commander Viktor Pilicic said the Royal Australian Navy had been a proud member of the Darwin community since the First World War and was instrumental in the defence of Darwin during the bombing raids in 1942. He said Navy Week was Coonawarra’s way of saying thank you to the locals for their support over the past 100 years.
“Darwin is an important and busy Navy port,” he said.
“It is a gateway to Australia’s northern neighbours and the centre from which Navy conducts its primary role in the north - border integrity operations.
“Darwin also plays host to major Royal Australian Navy and multi-national exercises and operations involving about 100 visiting Australian and foreign major warships each year.
“It is vital we pause to recognise the support of the community and say without you we couldn’t accomplish our role up here.”
Almost 600 men and women of the Royal Australian Navy are based in the Darwin area, most of whom work at Coonawarra and the Larrakeyah Defence Precinct.
Navy Week continues with a number of activities still to come, including a highly anticipated Ceremonial Divisions and Sunset Ceremony at Mindil Beach Markets on the evening of Thursday 17 August.
Executive Officer Coonawarra Lieutenant Commander Phillipa Hay said, it is promising to be an event not to be missed.
Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer will be the parade reviewing officer.