Geraldton locals will have the rare opportunity on Sunday 24 November, to take a tour of Royal Australian Navy ship, HMAS Toowoomba, during an RAN ‘open day’ when the vessel visits Geraldton from 22-25 November.
HMAS Toowoomba is anticipated to arrive at 10am on Friday 22 November and depart Geraldton Port at 9am on 25 November.
The purpose of the visit is to reforge previously close links between the RAN and Geraldton. The city has long played host to warships and formed strong bonds with the Navy as demonstrated with the creation of HMAS Sydney II Memorial at Mt Scott. The last time a warship was alongside at Geraldton Port was in 2005.
A second reason for the visit is to develop relationships between local Customs and Quarantine authorities and the port to facilitate the use of Geraldton as a first point of entry for Australian Warships returning from overseas deployments. This will mitigate crew arriving in their home port with eager family and friends lined up on the wharf for lengthy periods while the ship clears Customs and Quarantine.
HMAS Toowoomba’s Commanding Officer Catherine Hayes RAN, will lay a wreath at the Sydney memorial on Friday.
The ship will be open to the public from 10am to 2pm on Sunday. Public access will be by bus only, with the pickup point at the car park between the Port Authority Building and the Boat Ramp car park on Marine Tce. Parking will be available on the grassed area between the Port Authority Building and the CBH silos.
Geraldton Port Authority CEO, Peter Klein, said in an effort to foster closer ties with the Navy, many of the normal port charges have been waived. “There are unique challenges involved in juggling the commercial shipping imperatives of such a busy port to provide a berth for a warship,” he said.
“However, the strong social commitment the port has to assist the local community and business whenever possible means the port will do all it can to make the visit a success.”
City of Greater Geraldton Mayor, Ian Carpenter, extends a warm welcome to the ship’s crew.
“It’s a great honour to see HMAS Toowoomba visit Geraldton, and on behalf of myself and the community I extend a warm welcome to the crew when they come ashore to experience some of the City’s famous warm hospitality,” he said.
Pic caption: HMAS Toowoomba HMAS Toowoomba will visit Geraldton from 22-25 November and the public will be invited aboard for a tour on Sunday 24 November.