Friday, August 28, 2009

When the big ships come to town

There is really something special about standing at Fort Scratchley & watching the big ships glide into our magnificent harbour.

Today was one of those days.

The weather was an absolutely perfect example of late winters morning in Newcastle, the day heralded a brilliant cloudless sky, the breeze was from the north-west, cool, but not cold & it was able to bring life to the signal flags that gaily signalled the arrival of the HMAS Newcastle, our ship of the Royal Australian Navy.

To celebrate this special occasion the Fort (& the City of Newcastle) welcomed the ship, the Commanding Officer (Commander Justin Jones), the 184 other Officers & crew with a 4 volley salute from our No.2 Mk.VII 6" gun. This is the same gun (along with No.1 gun) that fired on & repelled the Japanese submarine, I - 21, during WWII.

The HMAS Newcastle (Pennant No. FFG06), is a 42,000 tonne 'Adelaide' class frigate, was commissioned in 1993 & has been deployed in support of peacekeeping operations in East Timor
and the Solomon Islands and Operation Catalyst in the Persian Gulf. Today, however, they were here to launch a campaign to raise $50,000 towards the Hunter Orthapaedic School, by aiming to run, swim, row and walk the distance between Newcastle Australia and Newcastle England.

The HMAS Newcastle is the first Royal Australian Naval vessel to be named after our wonderful city & we certainly hope that this is the start of a tradition that will continue for many years to come.

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