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Decommissioning booklet for HMAS WESTRALIA (O 195)

Date: 16 September 2006
296 x 210 x 2 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Defence Public Affairs WA
Object Name: Booklet
Object No: 00042387

User Terms

    This booklet was produced for guests attending the 16 September 2006 decommissioning ceremony for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) modified Leaf class replenishment tanker HMAS WESTRALIA. The decommissioning ceremony is the formal and final retirement of a ship from naval service.

    SignificanceThe booklet demonstrates the continuing traditions and ceremonial procedures of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and provides detailed information on HMAS WESTRALIA.
    HistoryHMAS WESTRALIA was built in the United Kingdom in 1976 and was used as a petroleum tanker. In 1979 the Royal Navy modified the vessel and it was used in the Falklands War and was named RFA APPLELEAF. In 1989 the RAN leased APPLELEAF and commissioned the vessel and renamed it HMAS WESTRALIA. It was the second ship of the RAN named WESTRALIA; the first served in the Second World War.

    WESTRALIA's operations included participating with Australian forces in the 1991 Gulf War as part of the Multi-National Naval Force in the Persian Gulf. The ship served there as a member of Task Force 627.4 in Operation Damask II from 3 December 1990 to 28 May 1991. This deployment included the distinction of being the first time Australian women had been deployed to a combat zone as the WESTRALIA counted seven female members in her crew.

    The crew also played a crucial role in the rescue of solo yachtsmen Tony Bullimore and Thierry Dubois from the Southern Ocean in 1997. On 5 May 1998 a fire onboard resulted in the tragic loss of four lives. WESTRALIA was refitted and returned to service until decommissioning on 16 September 2006.

    The decommissioning ceremony marks the formal and final retirement of a ship from the Royal Australian Navy. When the commissioning pennant is hauled down, a vessel such as HMAS WESTRALIA is no longer the responsibility of the Commanding Officer - in this case Commander Tim Crawford, CO of HMAS WESTRALIA.
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