Star-spangled kangaroo to adorn USS Canberra

At the commissioning ceremony for USS Canberra, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) presented the ship with a unique gift – star-spangled Kangaroo insignia.

CAPTIONAn Australian kangaroo gifted to the USS Canberra. Story by Lieutenant Harrison Thomas. Photo by Petty Officer Helen Frank.

Crafted by Australian hands with Australian metal at the Fleet Support Unit at HMAS Kuttabul, the unique insignia will be permanently installed on the sides of the USS Canberra’s superstructure.

The idea for the gift began in early April, and while there were plenty of challenges along the way, the team involved, including Leading Seaman Owen Skjeime, could not be prouder of the result.

“This is something that will be seen for many years to come,” Leading Seaman Skjeime said.

“A kangaroo is now on the side of a United States ship.

“We can say we were part of the team that got that up there.”

Leading Seaman Skjeime facilitated the creation of the kangaroos from start to finish.

“It started off with a thought, ‘Can we do this?’.

“Seeing the project through, it got a bit more realistic,” he said.

He can list the RAN members who worked on the insignia by name, and while he is the first to offer praise, his own contribution cannot be ignored.

It was Leading Seaman Skjeime who suggested that the offcuts of the insignia be used to create stunning mementos.

In the end, 15 little kangaroos were crafted to be used as gifts.

“Once I got the phone call saying that it was all done, I went down to see it.

“It was a bit of a proud moment to see it finished,” Leading Seaman Skjeime said.

“We had to take a photo to share the final product, so we got to peel back the bubble wrap and be among the first to see it.”

While it is the first time such unique kangaroos will be installed on a warship, kangaroo insignia have been marking RAN ships for decades.

The tradition of marking ships with a kangaroos originated to distinguish RAN warships from the Royal Navy.

In World War 1, HMAS Parramatta (I) affixed a bronze kangaroo to the top of her jackstaff.

Various iterations of the red kangaroo were installed on the funnels of ships in the early 1970s.

Since 1985, all major fleet units of the RAN have been recognised by a solid red kangaroo.

Now a new kind of kangaroo will be visible on the seas.

Its one-of-a-kind insignia will forever connect it with its Australian name and other vessels in the RAN fleet.








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3 thoughts on “Star-spangled kangaroo to adorn USS Canberra

  • 28/07/2023 at 5:58 pm

    I find it appalling that an Australian citizen – whether an ADF member or not – can’t see that a star-spangled kangaroo is an like acceptance of Australia being a satellite state of the USA. Do these young people think we’re another US colony? Have they no concept of Australia having its own flag and its own symbols that show pride in its sovereignty? Shame Australia, Shame!!

    • 30/07/2023 at 5:36 pm

      No, I don’t see the symbol being like the admission of being a satellite state of the USA. What I do see though is our MS media using Americanisms in their reporting, like ‘freight train’ and ‘side walk’. That slow take-over is making us more like a state of the USA.

    • 31/07/2023 at 10:37 am

      You do know that this is the second time the USN has named a ship Canberra.
      The first was the WW2 Baltimore class cruiser USS Canberra CA-70. Named in honour of WW2 R.A.N. cruiser HMAS Canberra, sunk at the battle of Savo Is.
      The USN have even named a ship after an Australian Prime Minister, USS Harold E. Holt. FF1074, a Knox class frigate.
      AFIK the Royal Navy has never named a ship after anything Australian.
      I don’t the people who came up with the idea think we are a US colony and I’m sure they are well aware of the Australian flag and Ensigns etc etc…
      Good on them for getting it through the system!


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