Navy Victoria Network
Proudly supported by the Melbourne Naval Centre

Flagship Events

This page lists certain annual events that the Navy Victoria Network management
committee have deemed to be of significant importance to the wider Navy community.
Details of each event will be published each year when known.

Next Flagship event - click Battle of the Coral Sea

Australian Navy Foundation Day - 2020

"CRESWELL ORATION 2020" - Tuesday 17 March 2020

   

Presented by:
CDRE Chris Smith CSM
Director General Littoral

Attendees will receive a lucky number to win a door prize of a
buffet luncheon for two at the Langham Hotel.

This annual event is managed by the Navy League of Australia Victoria Division on behalf of the Australian Navy Foundation Day Organising Committee (ANFDOC) which committee is formed from representatives of:

  • Naval Officers' Club in Victoria,

  • Naval Association of Australia Victoria Section,

  • Naval Historical Society Victoria Chapter,

  • Navy League of Australia Victoria Division.

download full details including booking information.....

Battle of the Coral Sea

Sunday 3RD May 2020, 11:30 for 12:00
Wreath Laying on WW2 Forecourt

HMAS AustraliaThe Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia.

The battle was the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.

In an attempt to strengthen their defensive positioning for their empire in the South Pacific, Imperial Japanese forces decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby in New Guinea and TulagiHMAS Hobart in the southeastern Solomon Islands.

The plan to accomplish this, called Operation MO, involved several major units of Japan's Combined Fleet, including two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion fleets, under the overall command of Shigeyoshi Inoue.

The U.S. learned of the Japanese plan through signals intelligence and sent two United States Navy carrier task forces and a joint Australian-American cruiser force, under the overall command of American Admiral Frank J. Fletcher, to oppose the Japanese offensive.

The Australian involvement was made up of the cruisers HMAS Australia & HMAS Hobart and led by Australian Rear Admiral John Crace.

Battle of Bita Paka

Service at 1100 on Friday, 11th September 2020
in the Sanctuary, Shrine of Remembrance,
afterwards at Darebin RSL.

The Battle of Bita Paka (11 September 1914) was fought south of Kabakaul, on the island of New Britain.  This battle was a part of the invasion and subsequent occupation of German New Guinea by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force shortly after the outbreak of the First World War.

The main target of the operation was a strategically important wireless station (one of several used by the German East Asiatic Squadron) which the Australians believed to be located in the area.  The powerful German naval fleet threatened British interests and its elimination was an early priority of the British and Australian governments during the war.

After an unopposed landing, a mixed force of German reservists and half-trained MelanesianAble Seaman Billy Williams police mounted a stout resistance and forced the Australians to fight their way to the objective.  After a day of fighting during which both sides suffered casualties, Australian forces captured the wireless station at Bita Paka.

The battle was Australia's first major military engagement of the war and the only significant action of the campaign.  In its aftermath the remaining German forces on New Britain fled inland to Toma.  Following a brief siege there, the German garrison capitulated ending resistance to the Australian occupation of the island.

At Bita Paka, Australia suffered their first Defence Force casualty of World War I, with Able Seaman Billy Williams mortally wounded.

The Seafarers Commemorative Service

The annual Seafarers Service will be conducted at 1030 on Sunday, 18th October 2020.

This service held since 1907 is initiative by the Mission to Seafarers in recognition of the Battle of Trafalgar. It serves as a reminder of the onerous life of a Seafarer in the Merchant Navy and The Royal Australian Navy.

We remember those Seafarers who served in the Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Navy during World War One, World War Two, and all of the conflicts since. In particular, we remember those Seafarers who made the supreme sacrifice doing their duty, defending Australia and its trade routes. May we be worthy of their service and sacrifice.

We also remember our present day seafarers who are carrying out their day to day duties. Being at sea, is from time to time a dangerous occupation even without hostilities. May all Seafarers continue their important work, safely and with our sincere appreciation.

During the Seafarers Service, the senior member of the Royal Australian Navy present lays a wreath in remembrance of those who have lost their life at sea.
Prior to the service, Naval Cadets carry in a number of Merchant Navy House Flags and members of the Royal Australian Navy carry in special flags of the Mission to Seafarers, Red Ensign, Navy League and Naval Association of Australia. A Colour Party then present the Australian White Ensign to the Dean.
The organising committee for this service comprises representatives from the Mission to Seafarers, Company of Master Mariners and Naval Commemoration Committee of Victoria. The service is supported by the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Navy Cadets. Their attendance and generous support of this service is appreciated.

The Mission to Seafarers is a mission agency of the Anglican Church, which cares for the spiritual and practical welfare of all Seafarers, regardless of nationality or faith. In Victoria there are Stations in Melbourne, Geelong, Portland and Hastings. Over 21,000 Seafarers use the facilities annually, mainly for contacting their loved ones. The Mission also provides support for Seafarers in hospital, and for those with depression, as well as advocacy for those experiencing injustice. The Mission has been providing services to Seafarers for 162 years and the primary Mission building is located at 717 Flinders Street.

All Ship and Unit Associations are encouraged to support the Navy Victoria Community.

HMAS Goorangai March and Service - 2020
Sunday, November 20, 11:00am

11:15 Marchers fall in, King Street

11:30 Service commences Ocean View Reserve

12:30 Lunch, RSL Hall, King Street (must book)

Dress: Medals please

Download full details and booking form..... 

NOTE: forms will be available closer to the date

HMAS Goorangai in Victorian watersHMAS Goorangai had been on operation since the 8th of November 1940 in Bass Strait following the discovery of minefields laid in the area the month before by German Merchant Raiders. The resultant minefields had sunk the US merchant vessel City of Rayville, and the British steamer Cambridge on the 7th and 8th of November.

During the day on November 20, 1940, the 230-ton Castle Class auxiliary minesweeper re-entered the bay for supplies of fresh victuals at Queenscliff. At around 2030 she left Queenscliff for her regular mooring at Portsea. It was during this move she collided with the 10,346 ton merchant ship MV Duntroon travelling at top speed with a following tide near the Popes Eye light in Port Phillip Bay.

The little ship, a member of Minesweeping Group 54, travelled slowly across the bay showing its regular steaming lights while Duntroon’s lights had been adjusted for its transit though Bass Strait.

Once the bows of Duntroon loomed high over her amidships, her WW1 veteran skipper Commissioned Warrant Officer David McGregor RANR and his entire crew of 23 were doomed.

The Duntroon stopped and lowered two life boats to commence a search for an hour and a half. The search was then taken over by the Queenscliff life boat, the picket boat MARS and others while the Duntroon returned to Williamstown for repairs. The search was to no avail with only minor flotsam recovered from the water.

Only six bodies were ever recovered and this was through the salvage / demolition of the wreck.

It was the RAN’s first loss in WWII and the first surface ship loss in any era (the only WW1 losses being the submarines AE1 and AE2).

Goorangai was one of many former fishing trawlers requisitioned from Carlo Camaniti's fishing fleet, Cam and Sons Ltd of Balmain, Sydney and the first of two to be involved in notable wartime tragedies. The second being the extraordinary events surrounding the sinking of HMAS Patricia Cam by a Japanese float plane.

Goorangai was built at the State Dockyard, Newcastle (NSW) in 1919, for aGoorangai Monument short-lived State Government fishing venture and was requisitioned from Cams at the outbreak of the war in September 1939.

Goorangai's wreck, laying in only 15m of water was demolished over the following months. She was laying on the edge of the shipping channel, regarded as a shipping hazard. The site remains popular with divers, and steel plates are scattered over a 200 sq m area of the seabed.