The Ship’s Company of HMAS Moreton gathered on the banks of the Brisbane River with dignitaries, veterans, friends and family on Wednesday 30 January, to observe a morning of significant events.
Amongst them, the handover of command between Captain Mark McConnell and Commander Gerald Savvakis. One of the last actions that Captain McConnell was to undertake was to receive the auspicious Governor’s Cup from his Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey, AC, Governor of Queensland.
The Governor’s Cup is awarded to the Shore Establishment that has excelled in all aspects of operations, safety, training and support to the Fleet.
Commander Savvakis took the opportunity to congratulate his predecessor and his new team as one of his first actions on the base.
“I am honoured to be selected in command of HMAS Moreton, which is a small base that punches above its weight. I look forward to building upon the excellent foundations established by Captain McConnell and the Moreton team,” Commander Savvakis said.
Coinciding with the transfer of command was the dedication of a memorial garden to commemorate the memory of Commander Lachlan King, a former Commanding Officer of Navy Headquarters South Queensland, who passed away in January 2018.
Commander King’s mother, Mrs Pamela King, unveiled the memorial plaque on a large central rock, flanked by plinths inscribed with the Sailor’s Ode and the Submariner’s Prayer.
Mrs King said it was a delightful surprise to be part of such a ceremony honouring her son.
“We came from a country background and Lachlan loved the Australian bush. To see this garden which combines his love of Australia, the Navy and Queensland - he would be so flattered by this honour,” Mrs King said.
The remainder of the garden is comprised of smaller plaques unveiled by and representing Defence, support and veteran agencies.
The garden has been planted to grow into a symbolic native lilli pilli hedge linking past and future and “all who serve under the white ensign”.
Built into the living garden are a series of sculptures and seating - where people can pause and remember the message of “reflection and protection” making the handover of command even more poignant to all those involved.