The changing face of HMAS Kuttabul

Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), ABIS Jesse Rhynard (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Kuttabul, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Kuttabul, Garden Island, NSW

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson stands outside the HMAS Kuttabul gangway. (photo: ABIS Jesse Rhynard)
The Commanding Officer of HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson stands outside the HMAS Kuttabul gangway.

It has been a busy year at Garden Island, Sydney with a number of changes being made to access and berthing arrangements.

Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson said with a fleet of new ships scheduled to arrive in the next few years, preparations were being made to accommodate them.

“With Navy due to receive the first of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships in 2014, and three DDGs coming in subsequent years, shore based infrastructure and sustainment facilities are being upgraded to support them.

“The five new ships will be home-ported at Garden Island, so berthing infrastructure upgrades are being made to the wharves and new office accomodation is being built.

New training facilities are also being built at both Randwick Barracks and HMAS Watson,” Commander Willson said.

“In addition to wharf upgrades, we also made changes to mooring buoys located within naval waters in May, which provided berths for the foreign ships which visited Sydney for the International Fleet Review in October. These changes will also ensure that with our new fleet of ships arriving, Navy has the capacity to berth our fleet during peak periods.”

The highly publicised decision by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to remove the Hammer Head Crane will also make way for the new large amphibious ships.

“While the removal of the Hammer Head Crane will change the look of Garden Island, it does eliminate a safety risk and will result in tax payers not having to foot a $700,000 annual bill to make the wharf area safe. It will also ensure Navy can use the wharf space to its maximum potential.  We’re expecting the first parts of the crane will be dismantled early in the New Year,” said Commander Willson.

Aside from preparations for the new ships, changes are also being made at the entrance to the base.

“Work recently commenced on the Garden Island Main Gate and the HMAS Kuttabul gangway on Wylde Street. These new access control points will provide layered security architecture and are being implemented under the Base Security Improvement Program,” said Commander Willson.

“It’s an exciting and busy time at Garden Island, all these changes will enhance our capability to meet our mission – to fight and win at sea.”