With the City of Devonport flag flying proudly from the ship’s halyards, HMAS Stuart completed a meaningful visit to her ceremonial homeport of Devonport in northern Tasmania.
During the three-day visit, the ship’s company took every opportunity to build upon the established mutual respect the ship shares with the city and the community.
Having hosted an official reception for the Mayor, Councillors and community leaders, the ship’s company exercised their right to Freedom of Entry through the main city streets.
Shortly after the parade, five crew members participated as support officials in the 2020 World Paratriathlon series, assisting amputees as they transitioned from the swim leg to the bike leg of the race.
Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Jesse Edwards said it was one of the best events he has ever had the privilege to be involved in.
“Paratriathlon offers a unique and inclusive opportunity for athletes with various types of impairments to perform at elite levels in an exciting and dynamic sport,” Leading Seaman Edwards said.
“The competitors themselves are truly inspirational sportsmen and women, they have faced many challenges in their lives, yet they give 120 percent effort to this sport.”
“They’re all vying for their countries’ selection in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and in my opinion, they are the embodiment of resilience and courage,” he said.
In other activities, the weekly Devonport Parkrun saw 22 members of the ship’s company participate alongside over 250 members of the city’s community.
And, while some members of ship’s company supported the annual Devonport Regatta, a group of 17 Australian Navy Cadets from Training Ship Mersey got to have an extensive tour of the ship.
The Australian Navy Cadets is a leading provider of youth development experiences, sponsored by the Royal Australian Navy, and aims to build teamwork and leadership skills in young people through exciting and rewarding adventure and maritime activities and quality learning opportunities.
Petty Officer Aviation Technician Aircraft Joshua Rutledge said the opportunity to show the ship to “such an eager and keen group of today’s youth” was an empowering moment.
“The tour was a great opportunity to share experiences and develop their interest in Navy life. Hopefully it will enable them to set clear goals for their future,” Petty Officer Rutledge said.
“You can’t help but to get excited about what they may want to do later in life and who knows, we may just end up serving together in the future.”
The busy port visit concluded with a friendly afternoon of touch rugby and a barbeque with the Devonport Touch Association.
Stuart’s Commanding Officer, Commander Luke Ryan said these types of port visits helped to maintain collaborative relationships and build on the mutual respect and understanding of the community.
“The City of Devonport holds a very special place the hearts of everyone who serves in Stuart,” he said.
“By engaging with the community, we create opportunities to learn about each other, build respect and understanding.
“These meaningful contributions create that sense of belonging and leave many lasting memories - and we see that in the smiles on the faces on the people of this great city,” Commander Ryan said.
Stuart returns to sea to complete the final week of the 2020 Fleet Certification Period, a high-end warfighting training period taking place in the waters of Bass Strait.