Navy celebrated the completion of 27 years of service by HMAS Melbourne – the last of her class.
CAPTION: HMAS Melbourne’s ship’s company march off the ship for the last time, during her decommissioning ceremony at Fleet Base East in Sydney. Photo by Leading Aircraftman John Solomon.
Story by Lieutenant Ryan Zerbe.
The 138m long Adelaide-class guided missile frigate (FFG) — the last remaining of six built for Navy — was decommissioned at her home port at Fleet Base East, Garden Island in Sydney yesterday, 26 October 2019.
Melbourne’s final Commanding Officer, Commander Marcus Buttler said his ship’s company were honoured to be the last crew to serve in Melbourne and pleased the occasion could be shared with many former ship’s company, who attended the decommissioning ceremony.
“There are thousands of people who have called this ship home over the past 27 years and most of our people don’t know a time in the Navy without HMAS Melbourne and the FFGs in the Fleet,” Commander Buttler said.
“I am so proud of the men and women of HMAS Melbourne for sustaining a high tempo at sea right to the end and contributing to her outstanding legacy.
“It is also a sad day as we see the end of almost forty years of the Adelaide-class frigate, which has been one of the most effective maritime warfighting platforms ever built,” Commander Buttler said.
Present at the decommissioning ceremony were many of her former crew, including the first of her 18 commanding officers, retired Commander Graham Johnston, who was at the helm when she was commissioned in 1992.
Since commissioning in 1992, Melbourne had steamed more than 900,000 nautical miles – 1.7 million km, deployed on operations to the Middle East eight times and earning battle honours for service in East Timor, the Persian Gulf and Middle East.
She spent most of 2018 and 2019 deployed overseas, including a four month deployment through north Asia earlier this year where she conducted international maritime surveillance operations to enforce sanctions against North Korea.
The fate of the ship is not yet known, with the Federal government now putting her up for sale.
If a buyer cannot be found, the former HMAS Melbourne may either be scrapped or could possibly be scuttled as a dive site.