Visit to HMAS Brisbane in Hobart – 13 May 23

Written by AHQ

18 May 2023

Recently Anne H had the opportunity to visit one of our Navy ships during a port visit to Hobart. She has written the following account of what was a great day –  




Last week I received a call from Jan-Maree:

“Do you read the Monday blog?”  Yes, I replied, always. “Did you read yesterdays?” Oops, no not yet. 

Quickly checked it while making polite conversation…[ J-M had called for EOI from AHQLB  makers who were interested in visiting RAN
vessels when they were in port all round Australia.  She wanted to keep a list so she could refer to it quickly if appropriate.]
She said that three vessels were due into Hobart
this coming weekend, and was I (and my family) interested in a tour?  Yes please!

The next day I received a personal email from Commander Kingsley, captain of HMAS Brisbane, inviting us on board on Saturday. HMAS Brisbane (III) D41 is a Destroyer Guided Missile (DDG), commissioned in 2018.  It is known as the Steel Cat (a leopard). Apparently, HMAS Adelaide, HMAS Sydney and HMAS Brisbane had been undergoing exercises around Tasmania and in Bass Strait, and, after a brief stop in Burnie in the NW, were spending the weekend in Hobart. 

In a small town like Hobart, it is hard for them to slip in unnoticed.  HMAS Adelaide was the first to arrive on Friday, towering over the cruise ship terminal at Macq1.  When I collected my grandson from school, we could see it in the distance.  Further, a helicopter had been buzzing our suburb that afternoon, and it turned out that a local lad who is now an officer on Adelaide, took a Navy helicopter flight to visit his old school nearby.

HMAS’s Brisbane and Sydney arrived on Saturday morning, mooring around the corner at Macq 3 and 5. Interestingly I have made quilts for Adelaide and Sydney recipients, but I haven’t sewn for Brisbane (yet).  The three ships lined up were an impressive sight.  Adelaide is huge and the two destroyers aren’t small either.

At 12.30pm my husband and grandson and I arrived at the Port 
security gate and were greeted by LEUT Emily, a Weapons Electrical Engineering 
Officer, one of the two female WEEOs on board.  We proceeded up the gangway and onto the deck (which doubles as a 
helipad).  The helicopter was tucked away 
behind huge doors, and crew were relaxing. One chap had brought his weights 
stand outside from the gym to enjoy the fresh air and view while exercising.

Emily led us through many corridors, up and down ladders, here and there. The corridors all have Brisbane street names and signs, so we walked Queen, Charlotte and Elizabeth Streets to name a few.  The decks also have a numbering system which Emily explained as the numbers go up 1,2 etc above deck, and go down 01, 02, etc below decks.   The corridors were all lined with firefighting gear and every crew member is trained in firefighting.  Also, slightly puzzling, were stacks of big heavy planks of wood, these are used to chock doors in case of flooding.  I also noticed quite a few ironing boards strapped to the walls,  no excuse not to look smart!  My grandson was amazed by all the equipment everywhere, so many buttons to push.  We nearly left him behind after we checked out the crew dining room, as there was an NBL game on the big TV screens.

We went out on the forward deck, while there is a large gun, 
the main defensive weapons are missiles which are stored in very deep cells under 
fairly innocuous looking hatches.  Emily 
studied electrical engineering at ADFA so this is her area of expertise.


We met the Commanding Officer of HMAS Brisbane, CMDR Kingsley, when we boarded and he invited us up onto the Bridge.  He showed us around and explained the computer system and lots of other technical things.  A bit over my head, but my husband, a retired physics and electronics teacher was very interested.  They had a detailed discussion about the CMDR’s ‘favourite things’ which are the hexagonal radar systems on the tower.  One of the ship’s engines is a Boeing jet engine, but it runs on marine diesel. When the ship is a full power, it uses 1 litre of fuel a second!  If necessary, they can also use the helicopter fuel for the engines. I asked about refuelling further up the River Derwent, but of course, the ship is too large to go under the Tasman Bridge, so refuelling on Monday was going to be a slow day of tanker trucks delivering to the wharf.

CMDR Kingsley also showed us his cabin, a very spacious suite (relatively) which doubles as his office. It was full of computers and communication gear, so he is contactable at all times, and the room has a red night light so his eyes are always adjusted to the light so he can respond immediately if woken at night.  His cabin is near the Bridge, and is the highest cabin on board, which means it sways the most in bad weather, but he assured us he doesn’t get sea sick these days.

Emily said she had admired a few Aussie Hero laundry bags on board, but didn’t know much about how we operate.  I explained as best I could.  CMDR Kingsley had a fairly plain LB on his rack (not one of ours), and he said it wasn’t as good as the AHQ one his wife had received on deployment in the MER.

We finished with a final photo under the flag, with HMAS Sydney behind us. A fabulous visit for us, and a beautiful Hobart weekend for our Navy.  Many thanks to LEUT Emily and CMDR Kingsley for their hospitality and to Jan-Maree and her contacts behind the scenes. 


If you would like an opportunity to visit a ship just like Anne then please check out the blog post “Are you missing out on info???” posted on 10 May 23 and then email 

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