Over 2700 Novocastrians took the opportunity to cross the gangway of their City’s namesake ship during a three-day port visit.
Families queued up to get a taste of naval life onboard HMAS Newcastle, with the demonstration of main weapons systems, a chance to sit in the Captain’s chair on the bridge and practical firefighting skills a highlight. $2000 was raised through the sale of ship’s memorabilia and a sausage sizzle during the Open Day.
During the visit, the ship reconnected with their ship’s charity, presenting a $10,000 cheque to the recently renamed Newcastle Community of Schools – formerly The Hunter Orthopaedic School. Ship’s company visited the school to meet the students, before hosting a hands-on tour of the Adelaide Class Frigate for 55 students, families and staff in a reciprocal visit.
Newcastle’s visit coincided with the 70th anniversary of Fort Scratchley firing on a Japanese submarine in World War II. To acknowledge the historical milestone, Newcastle exchanged a gun salute with the coastal fort on entering and exiting harbour, with Fort Scratchley raising the flag hoist ‘Our City, Our Ship’.
Reflecting on a successful visit, Commander Anthony Campbell, Commanding Officer Newcastle said “It has been a privilege to return to our namesake city and restore the strong affiliations in this region. The enthusiastic response from the Newcastle community was reflected by the size of crowd queuing for our Open Day. The Ship’s Company are delighted to help the students of Newcastle Community of Schools, knowing that their donations make a real difference to their education.”
Naval Today Staff , June 15, 2012; Image: Australian Navy