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Crossing the Line Ceremony, HMAS MELBOURNE

Date: 27 February 1928
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Margaret Kiley-Balas
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0823[229]

User Terms

    A Crossing the Line ceremony takes place onboard HMAS MELBOURNE on the vessel's final voyage from Sydney to England in 1928.
    SignificanceCrossing the line ceremonies are performed onboard ships to mark the occasion of a first time crossing of the equator for passengers or crew. Members of a ship's company are called upon to dress up as characters including King Neptune, Queen Amphitrite, a barber, a surgeon, bears, guards and sea nymphs. After parading around the ship a court is held near to a large canvas bath filled with water. King Neptune summons the new travellers and after they pass through the hands of the surgeon and the barber they are tipped backwards into the bath. Those initiated during these ceremonies are issued with a certificate which exempts them from a repeat of the treatment on any further voyages.
    HistoryHMAS MELBOURNE was commissioned in January 1913 at Birkenhead, England, and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, on 10 March 1913. During WW1 MELBOURNE assisted in the seizure of German possessions in the Pacific and undertook patrols in this region as well as in the West Indies and the North Sea. MELBOURNE's wartime duties concluded in 1919 when the vessel arrived in Sydney Harbour in May of that year. MELBOURNE was paid off in August 1919 and remained inactive in Sydney until recommissioned in April 1920. After four years patrolling mainly Australian coastal waters MELBOURNE was again paid off in Sydney in September 1924. The vessel was recommissioned in October 1925 and worked mainly out of Port Phillip, Westernport and Sydney. On 9 February 1928 MELBOURNE sailed from Sydney to England on a final cruise and was broken up in 1929.

    The souvenir booklet titled 'Souvenir of Final Cruise of HMAS MELBOURNE 1913 - 1928' lists the cast of the Crossing the Line Ceremony that took place during the vessel's final voyage.

    King Neptune: Petty Officer Barker. Queen Amphitrite: Able Seaman Britton. Pages: Leading Seaman Bennett and Leading Seaman King. Secretary: Petty Officer Wolsey. Judge: Master-at-Arms Clifford. Starboard Light: Able Seaman Fenwick. Port Light: Leading Seaman Osborne. Physicians: Yeoman of Signals Guppy and Leading Seaman Slaughter. Barbers: Leading Signalman Smart, Leading Seaman Levy, Leading Seaman Slaughter and Able Seaman Gibbs. Standard Bearer: Petty Officer Newton. Cushion Bearer: Chief Petter Officer Miller. Commissioner of Police: Supply Chief Petty Officer Hilton. Police Woman: Able Seaman Cully. Police: Able Seaman Cook, Stoker Petty Officer Burns, Leading Telegraphist Ansell, Leading Seaman Platt, Able Seaman Dennis, Telegraphist Phaup. Bears: Regulating Petty Officer Cake, Leading Seaman Green, Leading Seaman Raymont, Yeoman of Signals Passell, Chief Petty Officer Dixon, Able Seaman Carlton, Leading Signalman Cooper, Leading Signalman Cox.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Crew of HMAS SYDNEY dressed in costume for crossing the line ceremony

    Web title: Crossing the Line Ceremony, HMAS MELBOURNE

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