Watson celebrates 75th anniversary

Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Watson, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Watson, 75th Anniversary

The cake made to celebrate the 75th anniversary of HMAS Watson. (photo: ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill)
The cake made to celebrate the 75th anniversary of HMAS Watson.

At the beginning of March, Navy’s main maritime warfare training establishment - HMAS Watson - marked its 75th birthday.

Officers and Sailors of the shore establishment paused for work for a small celebration of Watson’s contribution to Navy’s training capability.

Executive Officer, Commander Kenneth Marr, said Watson had transformed over time since it was first established as a radar training facility.

“Watson has seen many changes since it was first commissioned in the 1940s and is now a centre of cutting-edge warfighting training that prepares our people to be able to fight and win at sea,” Commander Marr said.

Major redevelopment works now underway will ensure that the training facilities remain cutting-edge.

“These planned works are significant and it’s important that we continue to support high-end warfare and navigation training with upgraded facilities,” Commander Marr said.

Located at South Head on Sydney Harbour and first commissioned in 1942 as HMAS Radar, Watson now facilitates training for approximately 1300 personnel each year, with course lengths ranging from weeks to 24 months in duration.

Officers and Sailors at Watson train in navigation, ship handling, warfighting tactics, aspects of information warfare and other maritime warfare disciplines.

Watson is also the focal point for Navy’s internal synthetic warfare training events and those it conducts with its coalition partners.

The redevelopment project will deliver a new training precinct, new living-in accommodation, a new medical clinic, and upgrades to existing water, electrical and communication services, base security and galleys.

The HMAS Watson Redevelopment Project Construction Phase commenced on 20 December 2019 and is forecast to be completed on March 2027.

Commencement of the work packages for the new training precinct, base engineering services and base security are scheduled to start in April 2020.

Watson was named after Watsons Bay, which in turn was named after Robert Watson, the Quartermaster of HMS Sirius, a ship of the First Fleet.