Huon Valley News

Huonville students learn about Navy life

“Do you get to fish off the boats?”

This important question was just one of many asked by Huonville High and Huonville Primary School students this week, as they welcomed a very special group of visitors to the classroom.

Former student, now Lieutenant Commander Rodney Weeks and four fellow crew members of HMAS Huon dropped in ahead of this weekend’s ‘Freedom of Entry’ event in Huonville.

The Navy warship is being decommissioned and will be celebrated with a march down Main Street from 10:30am this Saturday May 4, 2024.

Returning home

For Years 9 and 10 and Grade 5 and 6 students, the school visit was a chance to hear about life and opportunities in the Royal Australian Navy.

For Lieutenant Commander Weeks, it was a chance to return to the classrooms of his childhood. He grew up in Huonville and attended both schools – his family still lives in the area.

Lieutenant Commander Weeks and his comrades specialise in many areas of the Navy, including combat systems, navigation, detecting sea mines, diving and ship mechanics.

Between them, they have lived all around Australia and even been posted overseas, including to San Diego in the United States, Iraq and to a peacekeeping mission in the Solomon Islands.

In his 18-year career, Lieutenant Commander Weeks has been to at least 60 countries!

Some burning questions

Not surprisingly, the students had a lot of questions.

  • How long have you been in the Navy?
  • What types of guns do you get to use?
  • Do you sleep in double or single beds on the ship?
  • Have you ever seen anyone bombed?
  • Are you a guard?
  • What do the different colour ribbons on your shirt mean?
  • What’s a diver?
  • What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
  • How many bad guys do you catch?
  • Do you have horses in the navy?

And returning to fishing:

  • What is the biggest fish you’ve ever caught? – Answer: A 32kg dogtooth tuna.

“The world’s your oyster in the Navy. It’s not just driving a ship and taking it somewhere,” Lieutenant Commander Weeks told students.

“It’s pretty much any job you can think of – you can be a cook, a teacher, photographer, an engineer, learn about radars, guns. There are so many jobs you can do in the military. Everyone plays their part.”

WHAT’S ON – Saturday 4 May 2024

Huon Valley Council looks forward to welcoming the crew of HMAS Huon to Huonville as it performs a traditional Freedom of Entry ceremony in celebration of their service to the Royal Australian Navy.

Pictured is Deputy Mayor Toby Thorpe handing over the Freedom of Entry scroll to Lieutenant Commander Weeks, at the Huonville Town Hall.

Street Parade

10:30am, from the Huonville Cenotaph down Main Street to the Huonville Town Hall

Meet the crew

11:15am – 12:15pm, Huonville Town Hall

Civic Reception

From 12:30pm

Please note, traffic will be affected on Saturday 4 May for approximately 30 minutes between Heron Road and the Main Street roundabout, 10:15am – 11am.

Traffic will be diverted during this time. We thank you for your patience.

📷: Kelly Davis