Marine Log

Armidale naming

Broome Naming Lady, Anne Zilko and Bundaberg Naming Lady, Dr Jocelyn Pixley

August 28, 2006

Austal hosts Armidale naming ceremony

The naming ceremony for Australia's eighth and ninth Armidale Class patrol boats was held yesterday at the Austal shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

The 56 metre, all-aluminium monohull vessels were named "Broome" by Mrs Anne Zilko, daughter of ex crew member Bill Ritchie (subsequently a Commander in the RAN), and "Bundaberg" by Dr Jocelyn Pixley, daughter of Lieutenant Commander Neville D Pixley RANR, Commanding Officer, HMAS Bundaberg.

Speaking at the ceremony, Austal's Executive Chairman, John Rothwell, noted thatAustal's original contract to build 12 Armidale Class Patrol Boats was recently boosted by an order for an additional two boats."

RADM Trevor Ruting RAN, Head Maritime Systems Division, Department of Defence said that "a real strength of this project has been the effective teaming of Austal, Defence Maritime Services and the Defence Materiel Organisation to provide the Royal Australian Navy with new patrol boats to a unique Australian design optimized for Australian conditions."

The first HMAS Broome was commissioned in Brisbane in 1942. She commenced her career engaged on anti-submarine patrols and escort duties in the North Queensland area, following where she transferred to the north coast of New Guinea were she performed similar work in the Port Moresby and Milne Bay areas.

During January 1945 she returned to Australia for refit, followed by further service in New Guinea, after which she proceeded to Darwin where she joined the Royal Australian Navy Survey Group.

The original HMAS Bundaberg was named after the Queensland Coral Coastal Town. At the completion of her trials in October 1942 HMAS Bundaberg was assigned to operational duty as a convoy escort vessel on the east coast of Australia between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

From April to August 1944 she bombarded Japanese positions on Alim Island, took part in landings on Sek Island and gave general support to the campaign which ended with the capture of the Admiralties and the establishment of an Allied base at Manus Island in the Bismarck Archipelago.

Between the latter part of 1944 and mid 1945 Bundaberg spent her time on patrol and escort duties in New Guinea. In September 1945 she travelled to Borneo and took part in the recovery of Allied prisoners of war and was also present at Kuching for the official surrender of the Japanese forces.

Austal teamed with Defence Maritime Services (DMS) to win in 2003 the A$553 million "output specified" contract to provide and support through their service lives a fleet of patrol boats to replace the ageing Fremantle Class, which have patrolled Australia's maritime zones for the past quarter century. Austal is responsible for the design and construction of the Armidale Class vessels.

To be based in the ports of Darwin and Cairns, the Armidale Class fleet primarily operates within Australia's Marine Jurisdictional Zones carrying out surveillance, interception, investigation, apprehension and the escort to port of vessels suspected of illegal fisheries, quarantine, customs or immigration offenses.