28 November 2014
HMAS Canberra was formally commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy on 28 November 2014 when the Australian White Ensign was raised for the first time on Australia’s largest ever ship during a ceremony in Sydney.
More than 1000 Navy personnel and guests, including Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, welcomed Australia’s first Landing Helicopter Dock into the fleet.
Navy, Army and Air Force members of the ship’s company lined the aircraft hangar before breathing life into the vessel with a resounding ‘cheer ship’.
A proud and emotional Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Sadleir said it was a significant moment for the tri-service ship’s company who had been training for months in preparation for the introduction of the LHD.
The ship brings a significant increase in amphibious potential to the Australian Defence Force and is first of two LHDs to be introduced into the Navy, with HMAS Adelaide to follow next year.
The ship is primarily an amphibious assault ship with capacity to deliver a 1000-strong armoured infantry brigade to conventionally inaccessible locations.
She is the third Australian ship to bear the name. Significantly, as was mentioned more than once at the ceremony, the US Navy also named a ship Canberra in honour of HMAS Canberra (I) which was lost in the Battle of Savo Island in 1942. USS Canberra, commissioned in 1943, is the only US warship ever named for a foreign capital.