Morning tea for members of the Ship’s Company of HMAS Brisbane
Commander Wilson and members of the Ship’s Company of HMAS Brisbane.
For a Governor of Queensland, offering HMAS Brisbane a warm welcome to our State has a certain irresistible attraction, so Kaye and I are delighted to see you all here at Government House today.
Naval historians among you will know that, prior to Federation in 1901, the then colony of Queensland had its own navy, comprising two larger ships, Paluma and Gayundah, and a few gunboats.
I don’t believe they ever fired a shot in anger, but the Paluma made headlines when she was deposited in Brisbane’s old Botanic Gardens during the huge floods of 1893, only to be lifted back into the river during a second flood peak.
Let’s treat that, not as a misadventure, but as a successful amphibious landing.
On a more serious note, Queensland officers went on to play a major role in the development of Australia’s navy, providing almost half the initial officer corps.
The current HMAS Brisbane is a brand-new addition to the RAN, but this sleek new DDG inherits a very distinguished name with a very distinguished record of service.
The first HMAS Brisbane served from 1916 to 1935, seeing active service in the Indian Ocean during World War I.
The second ship of that name served from 1968 to 2001, seeing active service in the Vietnam War and in Middle East waters in the Gulf War.
This second HMAS Brisbane also sailed to Darwin on a relief mission following Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
The then Mayor of Darwin later said: “We owe the Navy the greatest debt of all” – a wonderful and well-deserved tribute.
The City of Brisbane too was thankful for the invaluable assistance provided by the RAN after the 2011 floods.
You may or may not know, entirely by the way, that the City of Brisbane is named after Sir Thomas Brisbane, who happened to be Governor of New South Wales in the 1820s – well prior to our proud Separation in 1859. His portrait is in the booklet open on the piano: the full colour portrait hangs in Government House New South Wales in Sydney. Now, who was Sydney…!
The current HMAS Brisbane has a long and proud history ahead of it, and Kaye and I warmly thank Commander Wilson for this wonderful image of HMAS Brisbane – a fine addition to the Fernberg collection.
The RAN’s pride, professionalism, and unfailing commitment to the defence of our island continent will make sure of that.
And while today is a celebration, let us also remember HMAS Brisbane’s predecessors, their crews, and all those courageous Australians who went ‘down to the seas in ships’ to create the RAN’s proud history.
Our best wishes, and those of your namesake city, of Queensland and Australia go with you all as you sail away to create the new HMAS Brisbane’s very own distinguished record.
Kaye and I wish you every success.