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HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Hobart to leave Darwin, January 18



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D E F E N C E press release

SUNDAY. JANUARY 1 2 , 1 9 7 5 . No. A C f / 1 5

■ ' ' DARWIN. JAI-TUi'JlY 18 . .

{Statement b y the Minister for Defence .the Hon. Lance Barnard, TIP)

Two ships of the Royal Australian Navy task g r o u p , whose

crews have been working on the rehabilitation of cyclone devastated

Darwin, will sail from Darwin next Saturday (January 1 8 ) «

Hr. lance Barn a r d , Minister to*· Defence, said today that he

and Dr. Rex Patterson, Minister for the Northern Territory, had

jointly agreed that a stage had now.been reached which would allow

ERAS MELBOURNE and HMAS HOBART to be withdrawn. ■

The two ships would re t u r n to Sydney to work up for

exercises with the US Navy in the Pacific early in March.

Mr. B a r n a r d ■said that 400 Army m e n would be flown to D a r w i n ,

beginning next week, to augment Defence Force members, who were

playing such a vital role in the cleanup of the Darwin area,»

v. The work which the Navy contingent had d o n e , especially in

■ the clearing of suburban residential b l o c k s , had received h i g h · · '

praise from Dr. Patterson. The sailors, in ship and s-shoro, "were

: all part of a team that can only be described as m a g n i f i c e n t ," Dr.

Patterson said in a statement issued in Darwin.

Mr. Barnard said that he b o t h appreciated the remarks of the

C Minister for the Northern Territory and extended his own admiration

. for the selfless seal which had b e e n shown b y all members of the

; Defence Force - " sai l o r s , soldiers and airmen - in the tasks they

had shouldered since Cyclone Tracy struck on Christmas Day.

. Those principal R A N ships remaining in Darwin after next

■ Saturday would be H M A Ships S T A L W A R T , SUPPLY, B R I S B A N E , V E N D E T T A and

STUART, as well as ships of the L C H Squadron.

> ' f A decision on the d u r a t i o n cf stay of the R A N group

; regaining in Da r w i n would probably be made some time in the coming

. · ■ week. This would be made after the authorities had assessed the

l task still confronting the civil work force.

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: . The additional Army personnel being sent North would bring.

the Army contingent working in Darwin to around 700 men. They would

include a number of specialists whose, particular skills could be

used with advantage in -Vae w o r k of restoring public f a c i l i t i e s „

Over 4oo R A A F members, already in Darwin, would continue

w o r k i n g on the restoration of the airfield and its facilities, as

well as assisting in the c i t y ’s rehabilitation. · R A A F transport

aircraft would be operating to carry Army and Navy personnel,

together with urgently required freight; an average of three

aircraft a day were expected to be in u s e , .

Mr. Barnard said he had b e e n informed that it would be

' possible to house about 450 of the A r m y in barracks accommodation,

and the remainder would live in tents.

The A r m y had already commenced drawing together those men

who would go to Darwin» . .. .

*

. Enquiries: Director of Public Relations, Department of Defence, ; · Canberra, A.CT, 2600

,, T e l e p h o n e : 65 2999 (office hours) 47 8342 (after hours) ■ ■

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