Royal Australian Navy personnel were amongst thousands who flocked to the New South Wales coastal town of Eden recently, for the annual Whale Festival.
The event across the weekend of 30 October - 1 November combined whale watching from shore and sea, live shows, hands on family fun, street theatre, film, music, seafood and local produce.
Royal Australian Navy representatives from HMAS Harman in Canberra made the trip to Eden to share their experiences of life in the Navy both at home and abroad, answering questions adding to the maritime flavour of the event.
Sarah Chenhall, Digital Coordinator, Sapphire Coast Tourism – Eden Whale Festival, said having the Navy attend was a reflection of Navy's connection to the community.
“The Eden Whale Festival is a regional flagship event for Eden and the Sapphire Coast as it celebrates the close ties we have with the sea and the annual whale migration," she said.
"The Royal Australian Navy is an important part of our maritime heritage and our future and we were delighted to welcome some of the crew to Snug Cove on Saturday.
"The kids loved chatting to the friendly crew and we hope to see Navy again in 2016 as we celebrate the festival's 20th year."
Ten-year-old Mathew is an Eden local and spent some time talking to Chief Petty Officer Anthony Martin, Navy Community and Engagement Coordinator, about his aspirations to join the Navy.
“It was really great to have a long chat to Chief Martin," he said.
"He answered so many questions I had and he also gave me some really cool Navy stuff that I can take to school.
"I can’t wait until I am old enough to join!” Mathew said.
Chief Petty Officer Martin said HMAS Harman participated in events such as the festival to promote positive relationships with the regional community.
"The day was a rip roaring success and we had about 1000 interested locals and visitors to Eden come and chat to us at the Navy tent," he said.
"The interest we had from people in terms of what we do and what we stand for was amazing.
"The best part was the family members that came and told us that their children had joined the Navy having been first engaged in a similar set up to what we had today."