On Monday HMAS Darwin sailed through the Heads and returned to Garden Island for the very last time. Families were invited to be there to welcome her home as the Navy Band played. The day before twelve former Commanding Officers joined her crew for the last night at sea.
When the former Commanding Officers entered their accommodation they were greeted with some welcome gifts on their racks including a personalised commemorative laundry bag for each of them.
I met several of the recipients in the Wardroom after HMAS Darwin had arrived and each expressed their gratitude and appreciation for their bag. Feedback passed on indicates that they were all delighted with their bags.
Incidentally, one of the Midshipmen who escorted me on board reiterated again just how delighted the crew were to receive their bags at the start of their last deployment in September.
Jenny W front and back
Su J front and back
Gail front and back
Lynn Front and Back
Robyn B front and back
Ruth S front and back
HMAS Darwin was escorted through Sydney Heads by HMAS Hobart, the newest ship in the fleet.
As she pulled alongside HMAS Darwin’s indigenous dance troupe performed, accompanied by the didgeridoo played by one of the Chief Petty Officers. What a quintessentially Aussie way to make an entrance. It was wonderful to see.
Families were then invited to tour the ship and enjoy some morning tea.
Over the years HMAS Darwin has steadfastly raised funds for the Sir David Martin Foundation over the years and after the morning tea, a cheque for $4000 was donated the foundation. It was accepted by Sir David’s widow. It was lovely to see his family, including his son, one of the former Commanding Officers, present for the event.
After 33 years in service, covering more than a million nautical miles across the globe, including operations in Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands, and seven Middle East deployments, HMAS Darwin will be decommissioned on the 9th of December.