HMAS Anzac farewelled after 30 years’ service

Department of Defence

Navy frigate HMAS Anzac III, the first of her class, was decommissioned on Saturday, May 18 after nearly three decades in service.

Commissioned on May 18, 1996 under command of then Captain Les Pataky, the Anzac-class helicopter frigate, FFH 150, was named in recognition of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp and attended both the 90th and 100th remembrance services in Gallipoli.

Commander Barton Harrington said it was an honour to be the final commanding officer of the ship and reminisced on his time at the helm.

“Anzac has served an exceptional tenure and is the hallmark vessel for its numerous operations, deployments and commemorative activities,” Commander Harrington said.

He was exceptionally proud of ship’s company for their continued commitment and efforts during their time served on board.

“The people who have served in Anzac over the last 28 years have contributed significantly to protecting our maritime environment, strengthening relationships with international partners and representing the Royal Australian Navy,” he said.

“Today marks the completion of her time as the First Lady of the Fleet.”

At the centre of some of Australia’s most important international engagements, Anzac conducted operations in fisheries protection, peacekeeping with three deployments to the Persian Gulf.

Her accolades include: Battle Honours for East Timor 1999, Persian Gulf 2001-03, Iraq 2003 and Middle East 2007-13. Her most notable award was a Meritorious Unit Citation for naval gunfire support provided during the Battle of Al Faw.

‘Today marks the completion of her time as the First Lady of the Fleet.’

The ship’s motto, ‘United we Stand’, was fitting as current crew lined the decks with former crew, including the commissioning Commanding Officer, Commodore Pataky, watching on.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond and the Minister on behalf of the Prime Minister, Madeline King, were also in attendance for the decommissioning ceremony.

Vice Admiral Hammond said it was a day of sadness and of pride, acknowledging current and former crew and thanking families for their support.

“Our power at sea is derived from your strength, your resilience, your support and love for your sailors and officers,” he said.

Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Christopher Smith took up his position on the dais, receiving the Australian White Ensign from Commander Harrington.

Anzac’s crew conducted their final march past, led by Parade Commander Lieutenant Commander Matthew Green and Guard Commander Lieutenant Jemma Dart, accompanied by the Royal Australian Navy band.

Leading Seaman Claire Brown said it was a great experience to be a part of the decommissioning crew and has fond memories of her time on board.

“Anzac is the second ship I have served in, with the regional presence deployment to Japan and Korea my favourite to date,” Leading Seaman Brown said.

“The greatest part is that I get to serve with my best friend.”

The ceremony concluded after midday with an evening of celebration following at Optus Stadium for the ship’s decommissioning ball.

While sunset has fallen on Anzac, her legacy and spirit remain. Seven frigates of the Anzac class will continue to serve and fulfil their commitment to the nation.

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