As HMAS Melbourne readied for its departure from Fremantle Port on Sunday for the Middle East to participate in Operation SLIPPER, members of ship's company made their last mainland calls to family and friends, others ordered flowers or completed cards or letters to make the last postal service in Australia prior to their departure.
While HMAS Melbourne is equipped with an internet café and wireless access for its crew, ‘snail’ mail will take a few weeks to catch up with the crew as they conduct their transit, so they took the opportunity to send mail home.
PO Mezz Slavik conducted a different form of ‘Last Post’ ceremony alongside Fremantle harbour just prior to HMAS Melbourne departing, completing a postcard for her daughter.
“I always send family some snail mail from wherever I am, as it’s still good to put up on the fridge,” PO Slavik said.
HMAS Melbourne departed from its home port Sydney on 25 August for HMAS Stirling in Western Australia where it was to conduct its final preparations prior to leaving the Australian mainland.
The ship completed its final Force Protection assessment and deperming and moved to Fremantle prior to the departure on Sunday. It will be some months before she returns to Australia after she relieves HMAS Newcastle, which has almost completed her deployment on operations.
HMAS Melbourne is the 56th rotation of an Australian Vessel to the Middle East Area of Operations since the first Gulf War in 1990.