From 23 September to 11 October 2013 the Royal Australian Navy held a series of exercises, meetings and events to celebrate its 100th Anniversary of forming in 1913. The event witnessed aviation flypasts over Sydney Harbour, some of which the scale the public havent seen for years.

A fleet review with many foreign ships, aircraft and helicopters was also held in Sydney alongside a series of tall sailing ships visiting.

100years ago during October 1913 , steaming into the beautiful harbour came 7 grey smoking, brand new warships for the RAN which received a massive welcoming and thus this was the start of the official RAN fleet. Until then Australia had been protected by colony naval units scattered and not fully unified.

A little over 1.5years later the RAN would be in action fighting … in the Pacific coast off Australia sinking a the German navy warship. From WW1 patrols and actions in Europe and Pacific the growth of the RAN began. It lost some ships in the 1920s to treaties and peace intentions.. RAN submarines were also active in WW1 with one sunk in Turkey and becoming famous in doing so.

During WW2 the RAN took again to the high seas to stop the German and Japanese from invading other counties. Sadly WW2 saw many tragic events for the RAN happen with horrific loss of life and men in some cases such as the sinking of HMAS Sydney with the whole ships crew of over 600 Australians sailors dying and not one ever found…  off Western Australia by a German raider … both wrecks were only found in last few years. Other events saw RAN warships sunk in Pacific by the Japanese Navy in ferocious night time gun battles such as Battle of Savo. The RAN fought also in Europe providing protection in convoys and around Australia. Women also served in Navy during WW2 and this lead the framework where it is now common in 2013 to see many women in all different navy jobs. During WW2 in 1942 Sydney Harbour itself was targeted by the Japanese who launched submarines into the Harbour to get RAN and US Navy ships. Sadly 19 RAN sailors died on a ferry hit by a Japanese torpedo…. all the submarines were either scuttled or sunk shortly afterwards in Sydney or up coast a short distance away.

The Korean War 1950 – 1953 saw Australia send its first ever aircraft carrier into battle – HMAS Sydney. It had Sea Furies and Fairy Fireflies used in combat missions over Korea. Winter storms and harsh climate hit both the carrier and its fleet of escorts. Men toiled in harsh snow and cold winds to ensure aircraft were flyable. The 1950s also saw more carriers and ships join the RAN as it expanded its fleet size. WW2 vessels were scrapped still sadly not worthy of preservation. RAN ships were also used in British nuclear testing roles off the west coast of Australia.

The RAN served in South East Asia in the 1960s off Indonesia patrolling during the low level conflict. The Vietnam War saw the RAN again heavily involved this time providing helicopter support, destroyers for gunfire support and moving of army personnel, supplies, APCS/trucks to Vietnam. Many of the new DDG destroyers were active alone side the DE Destroyer Escorts. The RAN came under North Vietnamese gunfire at times off the coast. One sad incident saw a USAF F-4 Phantom jet fire a missile which hit the HMAS Hobart on one patrol mission.

After Vietnam the RAN was involved in support with Cyclone Tracey in 1974 which was Australia’s worse cyclone ever to that time. Massive movement of people and support saw RAN involved with helicopters, ships and moving supplies.

By 1980s the RAN was becoming a formidable and very large scale blue water navy force with many ships ranging from aircraft carriers, DDGs, DEs, FFGs, landing ships, supply ships and patrol boats to protect Australia. Carrier and naval aviation fixed wing assets were removed in mid 1980s and since then only helicopter support operations has been the main aviation tasks beside some limited fixed wing training HS 748s now retired.

In the 1990s the RAN was called to help take part in Gulf War liberating Kuwait and saw many rotations of ships and personnel. Operations in Middle East continue to 2013 and are used to patrol and intercept any vessel or threat they deem necessary to investigate. Helicopters such as S-70B Seahawk fly frequently and were supported by Sea Kings but these were retired in 2011. New assets such as MRH-90 and new MH-60R Seahawks now serve alongside FHG and new vessels to cone online such as AWD and LHDs, will again transform the RAN in the future.

Below are some of my photos from the RAN 100th celebration and remembrance taken on October 5 2013. It is estimated maybe up to 1.5m people visited Sydney Harbour just to see the celebration event…..and there was a sea of people as shown in the photos. The fireworks / light show and flare drop was one of the best events ever seen in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics fireworks some have suggested.

IMG_0885 IMG_0907IMG_0946IMG_0889 IMG_0913 IMG_0937  IMG_0966 IMG_0975 IMG_0982 IMG_6279 IMG_6288 IMG_6289 IMG_6305IMG_6299 IMG_6301 IMG_6313  IMG_6341 IMG_6346 IMG_6353 IMG_6354 IMG_6468IMG_6357IMG_6338 IMG_6358 IMG_6370  IMG_6381 IMG_6382 IMG_6384 IMG_6386 IMG_6388 IMG_6390 IMG_6393 IMG_6394 IMG_6395 IMG_6397 IMG_6401 IMG_6406 IMG_6409 IMG_6419 IMG_6429 IMG_6447 IMG_6450 IMG_6457IMG_6451 IMG_6455  IMG_6377IMG_6462  IMG_6477 IMG_6483 IMG_6523 IMG_6538IMG_6622IMG_6698IMG_6511IMG_6492 IMG_6540 IMG_6541 IMG_6542 IMG_6550 IMG_6558 IMG_6573 IMG_6581 IMG_6587 IMG_6590 IMG_6592 IMG_6594 IMG_6597 IMG_6600 IMG_6613  IMG_6627 IMG_6649 IMG_6666 IMG_6669 IMG_6676 IMG_6688 IMG_6693IMG_6725IMG_6767IMG_6719 IMG_6738 IMG_6760 IMG_6780 IMG_6789  IMG_6801 IMG_6810IMG_6795 IMG_6819 IMG_6837IMG_6868IMG_6883IMG_6848IMG_6864 IMG_6875IMG_6913 IMG_6933 IMG_6963 IMG_6966 IMG_6970

The end of the show and evening light settled in

IMG_6986 IMG_7011IMG_7013IMG_6989 IMG_6994   IMG_7014 IMG_7016

At 740pm the fireworks and lightshow began….

IMG_7116IMG_7062IMG_7114IMG_7057 IMG_7082 IMG_7084 IMG_7087 IMG_7092 IMG_7106 IMG_7110 IMG_7133 IMG_7135 IMG_7147 IMG_7152 IMG_7156 IMG_7166 IMG_7168 IMG_7190 IMG_7174 IMG_7170IMG_7185  IMG_7195 IMG_7203  IMG_7217 IMG_7222 IMG_7224IMG_7214 IMG_7229IMG_7273IMG_7250 IMG_7263 IMG_7265

Show over going home…90mins to get on a train…sea of people…

IMG_7286 IMG_7287