A weekend of celebration has been planned to mark the arrival of the Royal Australian Navy’s newest vessel at its ceremonial home port of Geraldton for the first time.
Commissioned into service in November, the HMAS Stalwart III will be in Geraldton from Friday afternoon until Monday morning to give locals the chance to learn more about the ship and her crew.
The visit was initially scheduled for March but had to be postponed when the ship was diverted to support flood relief efforts on the East Coast.
One of the highlights of the weekend will be a tour of the ship on Sunday, allowing locals to step into the shoes of a Navy officer aboard the HMAS Stalwart III.
The more adventurous in the community will have the chance to break a sweat alongside the crew as part of a public personal training session at Stow Gardens on Saturday at 8am.
Traffic in the CBD will be cleared on Saturday to allow for the Freedom of Entry march, which will see the ship’s company parade into Edith Cowan Square.
Geraldton’s Navy cadets will also be part of the procession, with City of Greater Geraldton councillor and cadet mentor Michael Reymond saying the youth had been counting down the days until the event.
“The Navy cadets will be participating in the Freedom of Entry march with the ship’s company, which is a great honour for the cadets. Then they are all being taken out on a sea tour on Monday, so they are very excited,” he said.
There are about 20 Navy cadets in Geraldton currently, with Cr Reymond saying he hoped the HMAS Stalwart III’s visit to the Mid West city would encourage more locals to get involved with the program.
“We are hoping that the interest in the ship will see a lot more young adults want to join the Navy cadets. It is a fantastic promotion opportunity for us and I am expecting our numbers will swell,” he said.
“I think some people don’t understand the opportunities to have a career in the Navy. Seeing the ship and what they do will hopefully help in that process.”
Locals can watch the ship come into Geraldton from the foreshore at 12pm on Friday.