From its establishment in 1965, the organisation, now known as the Sydney Heritage Fleet, has a long history of acquiring, restoring, and operating a wide selection of ships and boats from early Sydney and beyond. With the oldest vessel in the fleet dating back to 1874, sail, steam, and diesel propulsionsystems are all represented.
The fleet has a proud background of support and interaction with the RAN and currently has at least six ex-navy support vessels in its inventory, vessels that would have otherwise been lost to Sydney, the RAN, and our maritime history.
From support from technical sailors, to manning by ex-RAN officers and sailors, to sail and seamanship training activities for officer cadets and junior ranks, the all-volunteer SHF has seen it all in its illustrious existence.
Presenter:– Ray Rees CMDR, RAN Rtd
Ray joined the RAN as an apprentice and spent over thirty years in the navy. After first going to sea in HMAS Melbourne when she took part in the Queen’s silver jubilee, he went on to serve as a sailor in HMA Ships Derwent, Stalwart and Perth. In 1983, he commenced full time studies, culminating in the award of a BEng at RMIT.
After a posting to the marine engineering school at HMAS Nirimba, he returned to sea as the Damage Control Engineer in HMAS Success in the lead up and early days of the first gulf war. Then after managing minor war vessel maintenance in HMAS Cairns, he returned to sea as the DMEO in HMAS Hobart. After a brief stint ashore in the Naval Support Command, he returned to sea as the MEO in HMAS Brisbane.
From there he completed the RAN Staff Course before serving for three and a half years on exchange with the USN in San Diego where he taught project management and managed ship repair. Completing an MBA, he returned to Australia as a commander and served as the sustainment manager for the Amphibious and Afloat Support System Program Office before retiring to the private sector.
He has published a memoir on his life in the RAN and has been an active volunteer in the SHF, currently serving on the board of directors and regularly sailing aboard the Barque James Craig.