HMAS Sydney (IV) led an armada of international warships through Sydney Heads to the delight of more than a million spectators.
Twenty RAN and foreign warships as well as 10 military aircraft spearheaded the procession, which celebrated the arrival of the first RAN Fleet of HMA Ships Australia, Sydney, Melbourne, Encounter, Warrego, Parramatta and Yarra exactly 100 years ago.
To the roar of cannons, the warships entered the harbour in six divisions, with Sydney leading HMA Ships Darwin, Perth, Parramatta, Bundaberg, Diamantina and Huon.
The ships were supported by 10 Navy helicopters from 816 and 723 Squadrons, which carried giant Australian White Ensigns and the IFR banner.
Among the spectators lining the shores was Governor-General Quentin Bryce and Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who viewed the Fleet Entry from Bradley’s Head.
CO Sydney (IV) CMDR Karl Brinckmann said serving as the flag ship was a tremendous honour for Sydney, which celebrated her 30th anniversary on January 29.
He said when Sydney steamed through the Heads his crew was thinking about what the Navy had achieved over the last 100 years.
“At a time of tremendous pride and excitement, we reflected on the contribution that the previous Sydneys have made, including the ultimate sacrifice of the crew of Sydney (II) on 19 November 1941,” he said.
“One hundred years later, the fact that we are sharing the occasion with warships and tall ships from all around the world speaks as loudly for our diplomacy during times of peace as it does of our professionalism during times of war.”
CMDR Brinckmann said given her battle honours, the name Sydney had earned special meaning with the people of Australia.
“The name Sydney is certainly Navy’s most famous and deserving of ship names,” he said.
The traditions of Sydney are set to continue with Sydney (V), the Aegis-equipped Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD), which will come on-line in 2017.