July 26, 2019 – HMAS Sirius has conducted a port visit to Noumea, New Caledonia, where the ship’s company marched through the streets with the French Armed Forces to mark Bastille Day celebrations.
Bastille Day is celebrated on 14 July each year to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, which was a turning point of the French Revolution.
Bastille Day also marks the anniversary of the Fête de la Fédération, which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790.
Being fluent in French, Petty Officer Boatswain Anthony Harris proved to be a valuable asset for the Sirius contingent as he interpreted the required parade orders.
“It’s not often that I have the opportunity to speak French in a work capacity, so it was quite the treat,” Petty Officer Harris said.
The Sirius contingent was bolstered by three Royal Fijian Navy members who were sea-riding with them from Fiji to Melbourne.
One of the Fijian trio, OSSR Naomi Naituivau, said she thoroughly enjoyed the march.
“Marching in Noumea was a lot of fun! It was a great atmosphere!” she said.
Sub Lieutenant Megan Sullivan, the Assistant Maritime Logistics Officer in Sirius, said she thoroughly enjoyed her time in Noumea.
She particularly enjoyed taking part in the festivities of Bastille Day and briefing students at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on her role in the Navy.
“It was a great opportunity to engage the local community in Noumea and a huge honour to be able to join our French allies in commemorating their national day,” Sub Lieutenant Sullivan said.
In addition to Bastille Day celebrations, Sirius’ ship’s company enjoyed some friendly competition with the crew of the French Frigate Vendémiaire in games of soccer and volleyball.
Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Greg Smith led Sirius against a fierce opposition.
“It’s always a bonus to participate in sport against another Navy.
“Although Sirius has a small crew, we put up a large fight.
“At the end of the day, friendly international competition was the winner,” Leading Seaman Smith said.