Stirling time capsule celebrates centenary

ANITA McINNESSound Telegraph

When a time capsule was buried in 1986 at HMAS Stirling, former commander Bill Ritchie of Shoalwater was there to help lower it into the ground.

Picture: HMAS Stirling commander Capt. Brett Wolski and former commander Bill Ritchie of Shoalwater, with some navy and council memorabilia, which will be buried in the new time capsule.

Also looking on was Defence public affairs officer Gary Booth, but back then he was a petty officer and his title was personnel officer.

On Wednesday when the capsule containing navy and shire memorabilia was raised to the surface by commanding officer Capt. Brett Wolski and Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels, Mr Ritchie and Mr Booth were among the crowd of onlookers.

After visitors and personnel looked at the memorabilia including letters — one from the then commanding officer addressed to the 2011 commanding officer and another by former shire president Laurie Smith taken from the old capsule—they had a slice of cake marking 100 years of the Royal Australian Navy.

Capt. Wolski said it was important to celebrate milestones.

‘‘Today is all about recognising how far the Royal Australian Navy has come since 1911 but also looking to the future and HMAS Stirling’s role in that future,’’ he said.

He said the starting at the end of the year, the base would become home to new assets such as the amphibious ship Largs Bay, then in 2014 helicopter docks, and later on the new submarines replacing the Collins-class boats.

A new capsule holding memorabilia form HMAS Stirling and Rockingham as they are today will soon be ready.

Capt. Wolski said photographs of ships, the base, present-day uniforms, newspaper clipping about the navy and a letter to the commanding officer in 2036 would be buried in the new capsule.

Rockingham Returned and Services League president Tina O’Hara said the event showed the close relationship between the branch and the base.

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