ONE of Australia’s most important naval monuments has been unveiled on Sydney’s foreshore after being refurbished ahead of this week’s International Fleet Review.
The memorial was erected in 1934 to honour the memory of members of the HMAS Sydney 1 crew killed in battle against the Germans during World War I.
It now serves as an official monument to all Australian sailors and ships lost in combat, with the HMAS Sydney’s original mast as the centrepiece.
In an elaborate unveiling, officers raised the national navy flag as the HMAS Darwin sailed past, with crew standing on deck to formally salute the rejuvenated site.
HMAS Sydney Association president John Byrne said the five-year restoration process was a labour of love.
“I’d leave home at 5am and be here all day working on it, doing the rigging.”
“It was cold and windy, about minus four degrees at the top.”
Mr Byrne, a Vietnam veteran, said the memorial would inspire future generations as well as commemorate the past.
“We’ll bring schoolkids down here and tell them the history of the joint,” he said.
The $1.5 million project involved a fresh slick of paint, rigging work, bushland restoration and upgrading the memorial walk.
It comes just in time for this week’s International Fleet Review, which will see some 40 warships, 60 aircraft and 8000 sailors – as well as one carrot-topped prince – descend upon Sydney to commemorate 100 years since the arrival of the first navy fleet.
The incoming ships will salute the Bradley’s Head memorial in remembrance of lives lost at sea as they arrive, Commander of the Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Tim Barrett said.
“Now it’s an even more deep and poignant reminder of the history the navy has had.”
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