Minehunter opens scuttles to school

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Alan Parton (author), Unknown (photographer)

Leading Seaman Carissa Andrews teaches Eungella State School student Will Smith firefighting drill onboard HMAS Gascoyne
 (photo: Unknown)
Leading Seaman Carissa Andrews teaches Eungella State School student Will Smith firefighting drill onboard HMAS Gascoyne

Students from Eungella State School, Queensland, were given a special treat by the crew of HMAS Gascoyne recently - a personal tour of the Royal Australian Navy minehunter. 

The pupils learned about the roles of Navy personnel and about the variety of tasks a warship conducts at sea. 

The two-hour tour included an explanation of the ship's weapons systems, small arms and Mine Disposal Vehicle, which the children were intrigued to learn how the remote controlled yellow submarine sought out and destroyed mines. 

Eungella State School Principal, Judy Vidulich, said the tour was a highlight for the children, many of whom had not been on a ship before.

"I felt privileged to be able to discuss with my students what these men and women do when they are at sea on a minehunter," she said. 

"It was an amazing opportunity for our remote country school. Many of the children had never seen a ship up-close." 

Students visited the bridge, where they were given the rare honour of sitting in the Commanding Officer's chair.

However, the biggest drawcard was the damage control demonstration where all enjoyed the thrill of operating a fire hose.

It was the first time the primary school students had visited a Australian Navy warship.

After the tour students gave Gascoyne a rendition of their school honours, 'Eungella Fireworks', which symbolises firework explosions showering down.

Gascoyne is a Huon class minehunter, which features a unique hull design, outstanding shock resistance and an inherently low magnetic signature, allowing the ships to operate in hostile mine environments. 

Each single skin monocoque hull was designed with no ribs, frames or stiffeners, avoiding local stress points that could separate under shock conditions.

Gascoyne was in north Queensland conducting mine counter measure training before her port visit to Mackay.

Eungella is a small country town 80 kilometeres west of Mackay.