Penguin opens its doors for Ceremonial Sunset

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), LSIS Kieran Dempsey (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Penguin, NSW

Topic(s): Ceremonial Sunset, HMAS Penguin

The Ceremonial Sunset guard prepares to fire a volley with blank cartridges during a ceremony at HMAS Penguin, Mosman on 6 November 2019. (photo: LSIS Kieran Dempsey)
The Ceremonial Sunset guard prepares to fire a volley with blank cartridges during a ceremony at HMAS Penguin, Mosman on 6 November 2019.

HMAS Penguin has continued its annual tradition of inviting the people of Mosman and the Northern Beaches to a reception to thank the community for their ongoing support.

The event was an opportunity for locals to learn more about Penguin’s mission and get a taste of Navy culture with a Beat to Quarters and Ceremonial Sunset.

HMAS Penguin Commanding Officer, Commander Bernadette Alexander, said the reception reminds everyone on the base of the people they serve.

“HMAS Penguin is an important part of the Mosman and Northern Beaches community and we are proud to have such a high level of local support,” Commander Alexander said.

“The base was purpose built on the shores of Middle Harbour as a training establishment and hospital complex during the Second World War and we continue today to provide a vital capability to the Navy.

“We are a key training base with 220 Defence personnel, public servants and contractors coming to work every day to support over 2000 students gain new qualifications every year.

“Penguin is home to a number of Navy units, including the Australian Defence Force Diving School, the Maritime Geospatial Training Centre, the Royal Australian Navy Medical School and the Sailors Leadership and Management Faculty.

“Since 1942 we have lived up to our motto - Proud to Serve - and long may this continue.”

The evening Beat to Quarters and Ceremonial Sunset dates back centuries to the days of sail when ship’s drums were beaten to summon men to man the guns and prepare to fight.

It featured the Navy band performing a marching and drum display, while unit personnel lowered the Australian National Flag and Australian White Ensign for the day.

This year’s reception was attended by the Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski, and Member for the North Shore, Felicity Wilson, along with representatives from the local schools, veterans’ and community groups and emergency services.

Penguin is an engaged member of the local community and regularly supports and fundraises for a number of charities. Annual events the base supports include Anzac Day, the Balmoral Swim for Cancer, Balmoral Burn raising money for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, SPELD NSW, the Mosman Festival, the Sir David Martin Foundation and Legacy.