Lesson in soccer for Huon

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Mitchell Hosking (author), ABCIS Majtenyi (photographer)

Location(s): Yandina

Topic(s): HMAS Diamantina (M86), HMAS Huon (M82), Operation RENDER SAFE

HMAS Huon community engagement at Yandina Community High School (photo: ABCIS Majtenyi)
HMAS Huon community engagement at Yandina Community High School

Crew members from HMAS Huon visited a high school in the Solomon Islands during Operation RENDER SAFE duties for a range of sporting events, including volleyball and soccer.

The Royal Australian Navy mine hunter, along with sister ship HMAS Diamantina, was in the region to help the local government remove unexploded ordnance left after the Second World War.

Teachers and students of the Yandina Community High School cheered on the home soccer team for a 4-0 win, much to the delight of locals.

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Jennifer Kent said the community engagement was a great reward for the hard work of clearing ordnance.

"It was good to have a break from our program on board and interact with the local community; the children were really excited to see us," she said.

"We all had a lot of fun playing games and joking with the children and their teachers were very accommodating."

Community engagement activities strengthen relationships and allow for better communication between those conducting the operations and those benefitting from them.

Huon crew members concluded the day with a series of gifts to the local children, including stationery, water bottles, Navy ball caps and the match ball from the game of soccer.

They returned to sea to continue the much-needed reconnaissance, recovery and disposal of munitions from the Solomon Islands.

The 2014 operation in Papua New Guinea cleared 109 sites of 2,293 items of ordnance that totalled more than 16,000kg of explosives.