For a long time, Ian Blackburn has had a voracious appetite for all things Navy and a recent visit to HMA Ships Stirling and Ballarat fulfilled a lifelong ambition for him.
Mr Blackburn, who has been blind since birth, was given the VIP treatment recently touring various sites around the naval base at Stirling, culminating with a visit to Anzac class frigate, Ballarat, which is home-ported at Fleet Base West.
Speaking after his visit, Mr Blackburn, who holds a Masters Degree in Information Systems, said he thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to spend a day with Navy.
"This is an experience money just can't buy," he said.
"Everyone was so good to me; it was the greatest thing to feel comfortable during all aspects of the tour."
Mr Blackburn said one of the highlights of the day was a tour of the Fleet Base West Gymnasium.
"I loved the gym," he said.
"They had to stop me from running; I'm sure I could do better in the beep test if I was wearing the right runners."
Mr Blackburn had a special mention for Ballarat's ship's company.
"The whole crew was very welcoming and easy to talk to, and the ship felt immense and strong," he said.
The tour was organised by Stirling Visit Liaison Officer Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Graham Body.