The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) celebrated the completion of the final overseas deployment by an Adelaide Class guided missile frigate, with HMAS Newcastle arriving back in Australia. Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead AM, RAN, said the Adelaide Class frigates have been an indispensable part of Navy’s role in protecting Australia’s maritime interests for almost forty years. “Adelaide Class ships have formed the backbone of many Navy operations since 1980, serving with distinction on complex missions and cementing our reputation as one of the most professional and dependable navies in the world,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
Of the six Adelaide Class frigates to serve in the Royal Australian Navy, HMA Ships Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and Darwin have already been decommissioned, and the final two, Newcastle and Melbourne will retire later this year. “Like thousands of officers and sailors who had the privilege to serve on one of these great ships, the final voyage back to Australia by Newcastle will be bitter sweet for me, and the end of a defining era for Navy,” Rear Admiral Mead said. Before returning to her home port at Garden Island in Sydney for the last time, Newcastle will visit her namesake city and participate in a number of events designed to reaffirm the special bond Navy shares with the people of Newcastle. Commanding Officer of HMAS Newcastle, Commander Anita Sellick CSM, RAN, said her Ship’s Company are especially looking forward to the Freedom of Entry march through the streets of Newcastle and visit to Newcastle Senior School to present a donation and witness the unveiling of a mural commemorating Newcastle’s association with the school.
While in Newcastle, the ship will also conduct tours for local groups including Newcastle Senior School, Naval Cadets and the Newcastle RSL. The Fort Scratchley guns will exchange a gunfire salute with HMAS Newcastle as the ship departs Newcastle for the last time on Monday 17 June 2019. HMAS Newcastle has sailed over 900 000 nautical miles in 25 years of service, and received battle honours for operations in East Timor, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. Plans for the ship following Newcastle’s decommissioning are under consideration by the Australian Government.