Navy opens the hatches to Sydney

Department of Defence

After a 10-year hiatus, Navy ships and shore establishments around Sydney will swing open the hatches to welcome the community as part of Navy Week 2023 celebrations.

Sydneysiders will have a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with service men and women who are proud to showcase some of Navy’s cutting-edge technology.

HMAS Penguin, home to the ADF’s sophisticated diving, hydrographic and medical training facilities, will open on Saturday, February 25.

On Sunday, February 26, Fleet Base East in Sydney’s inner east will invite the community to embark in flagship landing helicopter dock HMAS Canberra, the newest Australian-built guided missile destroyer HMAS Sydney and Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta.

Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Chris Smith said while Navy personnel have been busy serving their community, much of this work is done far from home and out of sight for most Australians.

“Navy people play a critical role in safeguarding Australia’s economic wellbeing, on and under the sea,” Rear Admiral Smith said.

“The oceans are our nation’s lifeblood. Navy protects Australia’s maritime trade and marine resources and works with partner nations to secure Australia’s welfare in a prosperous and stable Indo-Pacific.

“We’re very excited to open up and share some of these experiences with our friends and neighbours.”

Navy’s open days will also be supported by bespoke units including the Australian Amphibious Force, mine warfare and robotic and autonomous systems, the Royal Australian Navy Band – Sydney, Defence Families of Australia and Defence Force Recruiting.

“This is also an opportunity to highlight the immense opportunities available to Australians who might consider a career in the Navy,” Rear Admiral Smith said.

“Navy’s workforce is growing, and our technology is getting more and more sophisticated. There’s never been more opportunity for Australians with diverse skills, backgrounds and talents to join the Navy family.”

Traditionally, Navy Week has preceded the Royal Australian Navy’s birthday on March 1, when in 1901 the states transferred their naval forces to the Commonwealth of Australia following Federation.

This year Navy celebrates the ripe old age of 122.

Important event information:
  • Entry is free. Entry to HMAS Penguin will be ticketed:
  • Bag searches will be conducted as a condition of entry.
  • No alcohol permitted. Food and drink will be available for purchase.
  • Ship tours are popular and there may be wait times. Monitor the weather, bring appropriate sun and/or rain protection and carry drinking water – protected spots will be limited.
  • Please wear flat enclosed shoes – ship tours may involve steep stairwells.
  • All wharf areas are wheelchair accessible. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, ship tours require steep ascents and descents and are not suitable for wheelchairs or mobility impairments.
  • Camping chairs and picnic blankets will not be permitted on wharf areas at Fleet Base East.
  • Public transport is highly recommended. Navy is unable to provide onsite parking.
  • For access to Fleet Base East, Wilsons Domain Carpark and Kings Cross railway station are within 20 minutes walking distance, and the 311 Bus will service Cowper Wharf Roadway from the city and eastern suburbs.
  • Pedestrian access only to HMAS Penguin via the base rear access gate at Balmoral Beach.
What to see:

HMAS Penguin, Middle Head Road, Mosman

10am to 2pm Saturday, February 25

  • Maritime Operational Health Unit static display
  • Submarine and Underwater Medicine Unit static display
  • Physical Training Department
  • Boatswains mate static display
  • ADF Centre for Mental Health
  • ADF Dive School display and museum
  • Light landing craft demonstrations
  • Royal Australian Navy Band – Sydney
  • Defence Force Recruiting
  • Sausage sizzle provided by HMAS Penguin personnel with all proceeds going to the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter

Fleet Base East, Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo

10:00am to 2:00pm Sunday, February 26

  • Landing helicopter dock HMAS Canberra
  • Elements of the Australian Amphibious Task Group
  • Guided missile destroyer HMAS Sydney
  • Anzac-class Frigate HMAS Arunta
  • Clearance Diving Team One static display
  • Maritime Deployable Robotics and Underwater Systems Experimentation Unit static display
  • Royal Australian Navy Band – Sydney
  • Defence Force Recruiting

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