HMAS Choules on Sydney Harbour proved to be the perfect backdrop to an Australia Day event to be remembered.
Choules hosted the official New South Wales Australia Day celebration on the harbour, including a Citizenship Ceremony and Welcome to Country.
The Fleet was well presented to the people of Sydney, with all Fleet Units at Dress Ship as Choules moved from Garden Island to the waters opposite the Sydney Opera House.
Choules entertained the embarked guests with the Royal Australian Navy band and a ceremonial guard on deck for ceremonial duties.
The Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General David Hurley AC DSM spoke of the importance of the day and of the valuable support provided by HMAS Choules to the event.
Amongst the 42 new Australians conferred with citizenship, ten are Australian Defence Force personnel. Royal Australian Navy officers who came to Australia from Holland, Canada and New Zealand joined their Australian shipmates in celebrating Australia Day.
For Lieutenant Commander Louis Philippe Menard it was an occasion he will never forget.
“I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to take part in this ceremony today,” Lieutenant Commander Menard said.
At the citizenship ceremony, Lieutenant Commander Menard was joined by four other Australian Defence Force members who were natives of Canada.
“This is the best location I could ever imagine to become and Australian Citizen,” he said, looking at his surroundings as Choules sailed between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
A highlight of the event was a game of Deck Cricket, held on Choules’ flight deck.
For invited guests and members of the Ship’s Company, it was a spectacle to watch the Governor of New South Wales batting at the crease and being bowled at full toss by the Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, resulting in him being nearly caught out by the wicket keeper, who was none other than Commander Surface Force, Commodore Stephen Hughes.
After stumps was called, Choules returned alongside with a proud group of new Australian Citizens on board.