Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Melbourne's Own Cruiser

On 26 March 1913, the new RAN cruiser HMAS Melbourne sailed gloriously into Port Phillip Bay, 'Single Line Ahead' leading HMS Encounter, Torpedo Boat Destroyers Warrego, Parramatta and Yarra.  She was later to receive the insignia of the City of Melbourne, which is included in the current RHSV exhibition, on loan from the Australian War Memorial.

On the exact anniversary of that triumphal entry into the port of Melbourne, the RHSV exhibition was launched, and at the same time a new history of the working life of HMAS Melbourne was launched.

L-R:  Andrew Lemon, President RHSV; Captain Mike Harris, RAN; Andrew Kilsby; Commander Greg Swinden, RAN.
The authors of the new book, Andrew Kilsby, left, and Commander Greg Swinden.

The official guest to launch the exhibition and book was Captain Mike Harris, left, with Andrew Kilsby.
 Captain Mike Harris, RAN, has a double connection with the story of the Melbourne.  He captained its namesake, HMAS Melbourne (2) until 2011, and his great-grandparents were among the passengers rescued in from a stricken vessel, the Helen B Sterling in very heavy seas in 1922.   A descendant of one of the seamen who manned a small cutter to affect the rescue was also present for the launch.

The Melbourne entering Port Phillip Bay, 'Single Line Ahead', leading HMS Encounter, and Torpedo Boat Destroyers Warrego, Parramatta and Yarra.  From The Argus, 27 March, 1913, p5.

 The Exhibition is open until 1 May, open weekdays from 10 till 4, at the RHSV, 239 A'Beckett St, Melbourne (near the corner of William St.)       

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