Visiting HMAS Farncomb……..

Written by ahq_admin

8 February 2018

On a cloudy overcast Friday, Jan-Maree, Bridget, Helen and Beverly, along with 3 huge IKEA bags filled with quilts and laundry bags piled into Jan-Maree’s car en route to Wooloomooloo to visit the HMAS Farncomb Submarine SSG74 docked at Garden Island for maintenance.

After identifying ourselves and getting our passes we were taken to the submarine at the dock. A delightful young man AB Fletcher, was assigned to be our guide. 

Everything you have ever seen or heard about submarines is true!  We climbed down the small ‘manhole’ on small, steep metal rungs, hanging onto metal rails for dear life!  

Walked down passage ways where 2 people couldn’t pass without one of you climbing up or on whatever was on the side. Everything has it’s place and every place is for a reason! 

Huge motors and great pieces of steel make this mighty grey/black machine move clandestinely through our waters. There are 60 crew on board, 2 of these are female (another 2 will join soon).The ‘bunks’ we learned are called racks, and just fit a person….heaven help you if you are tall! The submariners work in 6 hour shifts and there are 4 meals a day provided by 2 chefs from a small galley kitchen. 

The crew are allowed a shower every 4 days for 1 minute, lots of wipes come in very handy.  The chefs are afforded a shower everyday. 1 washing machine and 1 dryer are at their disposal! They have a desalination plant on board. The problem is not a shortage of water but a problem getting rid of the ‘grey’ water. There are very stringent rules about where they can dump this. 

For recreation there is 1 rowing machine and 1 exercise bike and NO social media! The escape hatch was a real eye opener… looked so small, you would be very glad you didn’t have that second helping of bread pudding the night before!! 

Fletcher said that they are like one big family, support and rely on one another ( yes, they HAVE to get along with each other!)   

After 1 1/2 hours of a great, albeit claustrophobic experience, we came back up to lovely blue skies, it took our eyes a while to recover from the gloom Downunder! 

Jan-Maree then invited the staff there to choose quilts and laundry bags. It is lovely to see the joy on their faces as they realise that these are for them to keep. 

One guy ran off to put his quilt on his rack right away! 

We all have a new respect for these wonderful men and women that devote their lives and forfeit life’s privileges and luxuries to make us safe.

Thank you HMAS Farncomb for a once in a lifetime experience! 


Thanks for writing it up Bev U!

Till next time….. keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree  xx

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  1. Nicole

    What a fantastic experience. Love all the happy faces!


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