More than 1000 people queued at Garden Island, Sydney on Saturday for a chance to see inside HMAS Canberra, as part of the NSW Kids In Need charity Open Day.
Canberra was one of 50 locations around Sydney that are either iconic or not usually accessible to the public opened in support of NSW Kids in Need.
Chairman and founder of NSW Kids in Need, Peter Debnam said the support from the Australian Defence Force had been fantastic.
He said the NSW Kids in Need Open Day assisted Bear Cottage Children’s Hospice, Central Coast Kids In Need, Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Australia, SHINE For Kids and The Burns Unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
“Personnel from Navy, Army and Air Force bent over backwards to take part in the Open House and made sure everyone had a great time.”
“Everyone has been very generous. This is critical for these charities as they are not very big so they find it difficult to get money in the door.
"This event gets them a reasonable amount of money that they can use on projects that they feel is worthwhile,” Peter Debnam said.
Among the crowd were the Smith family who were excited to see first hand what life is like in the Royal Australian Navy's biggest ship.
Kiara Smith,14, said she and her sister enjoyed a tour of the Canberra Class Amphibious Ship to gain a rare insight to life at sea.
“Sometimes, we drive past and see the helicopter docks sitting at the wharf," Kiara said.
"They look so cool from the outside I have wondered what they look like from the inside and it’s even cooler. It is just massive."
Younger sisters Chantelle and Rhiannon were equally curious and were impressed by the size of the ship.
“I like it! It’s amazing how high the water goes in the well dock,” eight-year-old Chantelle said.
Last year the Smith family visited Royal Australian Air Force base Richmond and mum Celine said that this year she was interested in seeing another part of the Defence force.
“Last year for Kids In Need we went to Richmond but this year I was really excited to come to Woolloomooloo and see inside the ship and get an inside view of what actually happens.
"As a registered nurse, I was looking forward to seeing the hospital,” Celine Smith said.
Husband Adam Smith said he was very impressed by Canberra.
“I think it is great the way the Navy has opened up their ship for Kids in Need. I’m very impressed by the ship,” Adam Smith said.
"Unless you know someone in the Navy you just don’t understand how big these things are.