The Royal Australian Navy’s last Oliver Hazard Perry/Adelaide class FFG HMAS Melbourne (III) returned to its home port of Sydney flying her paying-off pennant on September 27, prior to its planned decommissioning in October.
The return comes after the ship completed a final cruise, including to its namesake city of Melbourne where its crew exercised its freedom of entry to the city. Her motto is ‘VIRES ACQUIRIT EUNDO’ which translates to ‘She Gathers Strength As She Goes’.
HMAS Melbourne is the third RAN vessel to wear the name of Australia’s second largest city. The fifth of the six FFGs to enter RAN service, she was launched at the then Australian Marine Engineering shipyard (AMECON, now BAE Systems Australia) in Williamstown in Melbourne in May 1989, and was commissioned in February 1992.
Her battle honours include eight deployments to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) between 1996 and 2015/16 under Operations MANITOU, SLIPPER, CATALYST and DAMASK, and to Timor Leste to support the INTERFET mission in 1999/2000.
Defence is yet to announce what Melbourne’s fate will be after her decommissioning, although there have been reports she and her sister ships, Newcastle and Darwin which were decommissioned in June 2019 and December 2017 respectively might be sold to Greece.