Bega Valley Shire and Royal Australian Navy representatives announced the Port of Eden as NUSHIP Supply’s ceremonial home port during an event held by the waters of Cocora Beach, Eden over the weekend.
Representing the strength and importance the new bond will create for both Navy and the local community, 40 crew members of Supply stood beside community members in a circle at the Cocora Beach Amphitheatre as leaders spoke about the significance of the announcement.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said the announcement was welcomed by the local community, which has had a long-standing relationship with Navy including HMAS Adelaide’s assistance during the bushfires most recently.
“On 19 June, the Chief of Navy approved the Port of Eden as Supply’s ceremonial home port, and we as a community could not feel more privileged or honoured to announce that today,” Mayor Fitzpatrick said.
“We look forward to a long, productive and prosperous relationship with NUSHIP Supply.”
Leading Seaman Josh Cole, who served in HMAS Adelaide during Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST, said the crew was excited to have Eden as their home port and looked forward to building strong relationships with the community.
“I like the full circle feeling I get coming down here again after assisting during the bushfires. I’m excited that we are starting a relationship with the town. It means we will be able to continuously provide support to the people who are going through hard times,” Leading Seaman Cole said.
“I think it is going to be a great experience for the crew. I know I plan on building as many bonds as possible over my next four year posting to Supply.”
The local Aboriginal community has been working closely with Supply to develop an open dialogue and to move forward together with a shared vision and cultural understanding.
Commanding Officer of Supply, Captain Ben Hissink, said the branding is a pivotal step forward in the crew-wide endeavour to ensure Supply meets the needs of a culturally inclusive and diverse workforce.
“It is important for all of us in Supply to recognise our country’s Indigenous people and to strive for inclusiveness that collectively strengthens us in the service of our nation,” he said.
At the end of the ceremony, Captain Hissink unveiled Supply’s new mascot, designed by local Aboriginal artists Alison Simpson and Joe Stewart and approved by the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council.
“This artwork is the culmination of a vision we had to create a wholly inclusive ship inspired by the Indigenous community that values community and family, and protects each other,” Captain Hissink said.
“Our motto is “Strengthen the Shield”, which reflects that our shipmates will stand up to protect those on their left and their right.
“Our brand is a shield with an orca as the mascot given the legendary and ancient links the orca has to the community here.
“We are proud and honoured to bear the greatness of ancestors past and present on our uniforms and display our connection to the Eden community.”
NUSHIP Supply is due to arrive in Sydney and commission early next year.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: