Stuart shines to the delight of Devonport

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Dave Devlin (author), POIS Tom Gibson (photographer), LSIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

Location(s): Devonport, TAS

Topic(s): Freedom of Entry, HMAS Stuart (F153), Fleet Certification Period

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Gregoire Soler leads the march into Devonport, Tasmania during the HMAS Stuart Freedom of Entry. (photo: LSIS Christopher Szumlanski)
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Gregoire Soler leads the march into Devonport, Tasmania during the HMAS Stuart Freedom of Entry.

The community links between HMAS Stuart and her ceremonial homeport of Devonport, in northern Tasmania, have been made stronger with the ship exercising her right of Freedom of Entry to the city.

One hundred and sixty men and women from the Royal Australian Navy Frigate conducted the formal parade, accompanied by members of the Royal Australian Navy Band and local Australian Navy Cadets from TS Mersey and TS York.

More than 600 people lined the route showing their appreciation and pride for their Navy.

The parade was reviewed by the Mayor of Devonport, Councillor Annette Rockliff and Senior Naval Officer Tasmania, Commander Andrew Wright.

“The vessel has had a very close association with the city and it was appropriate that such an honour was afforded to the crew once again,” Mayor Rockliffe said.

“Granting permission for the Freedom of Entry to the crew of Stuart is deemed a privilege, honour and distinction,” she said.

Prior to Stuart commissioning in 2003, the City of Devonport held close associations with the former destroyer escort HMAS Derwent, a bond they held until the ship decommissioned in 1994.

“We are deeply proud of our nations Navy, and the support they have given to the community of Devonport over very many years,” Mayor Rockliff said.

Stuart’s Commanding Officer, Commander Luke Ryan said it was an exciting moment to lead his ships company through the magnificent streets of Devonport.

“We’re always made exceptionally welcome by the local community. It is seen as a highlight on our ship’s program and a privilege for the entire ships company,” Commander Ryan said. 

“I think for any sailor a visit to Tasmania is a special highlight in their careers and particularly Devonport given the close links between the ship and the city.”

“Today’s parade is made even more special being on the eve of the Royal Australian Navy’s 119th birthday,” he said.

Able Seaman Electronics Technician Stanislav Yakovlev joined the Navy from the nearby city of Burnie in Tasmania. He described the excitement of bringing the ship he serves on into his home state.

“It’s always great to go home and see family and friends, but amazing that they all get to see the ship and where I work,” Able Seaman Yakovlev said.

“My family are going to be watching the parade, it will be a very proud moment for them to see me representing the ship on such an occasion.”

The ship is currently one of nine ships and submarines taking part in the 2020 Fleet Certification Period in the waters off Bass Strait.

Imagery available on the Defence Image Library at https://images.defence.gov.au/S20201043.