With kind permission of the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral M J Noonan AO RAN, the Naval Historical Society of Australia is to present an Australian White Ensign to St John’s Church Birchgrove which will then be dedicated in the presence of the Rector of St John’s, the Reverend Cannon Peter Yeats, and Chaplain Catherine Wynn Jones RAN.
On 18 June 1944, in recognition of the great contribution made by the people of this Parish to the shipbuilding industry and in particular the services of the Rector, the Reverend Arthur Rix, and his choir in launching 62 ships, an Admiralty White Ensign was presented to St John’s and dedicated in the presence of Her Excellency Lady Gowrie, wife of the Governor-General. The remains of this proud flag will be laid up and presented to the safe keeping of Captain Viktor Pilicic CSC RAN, the Commanding Officer of HMAS Kuttabul.
For those who wish to avail themselves of a short ferry ride from Circular Quay – Wharf 5 departing at 8.45 am a mini bus will meet the ferry at Balmain East with transport to the church. Limited parking is also available close to the church on the corner of Spring Street and Birchgrove Road.
The ceremony will comprise a church service, led by a full choir, and then Holy Communion. This will be followed by a short address by the Vice President of the Naval Historical Society, Mr John Jeremy AM. John started his working life as an Apprentice Ship Draftsman at Cockatoo Island Dockyard and many years later was its last Chief Executive. The presentation and dedication ceremony will then be conducted with the assistance of a uniformed contingent from the RAN comprising a naval bugler and marching party.
Following the ceremony refreshments will be made available at the adjacent Church Hall, with rest rooms. Afterwards a short bus tour is planned to places of maritime interest before retiring at midday to a nearby historic hotel for a set luncheon, with a choice of main course, plus vegetarian option, dessert, tea & coffee at a cost of $50 per head. A bar service is also available. On completion the mini bus will return to the ferry terminal.
If you are able to join us for this unique and important historic event please provide your name (plus partner) and contact details to the coordinator Walter Burroughs at email@example.com or 0414 287 993. Dress for this occasion is smart casual and service medals may be worn.