|Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, cuts the ribbon across the main entrance to the new headquarters building for the Fleet Air Arm, marking its official opening. (photo: POIS Kelvin Hockey)|
September 6, 2016 - For the first time in the 70-year history of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, headquarters staff will be based in a purpose-designed building.
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett formally opened the new operational command center at a ceremony at HMAS Albatross, in Nowra, New South Wales, on 25 August.
“This building is absolutely essential in what the base will deliver, not just for navy but for the Australian Defence Force now and well into the future,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.
The opening ceremony represented another milestone in the $192 million redevelopment program at Albatross and the evolution of the Fleet Air Arm which includes not only new facilities, but new aircraft, technology and training systems.
Commander Fleet Air Arm Commodore Chris Smallhorn said the headquarters was yet another exciting chapter in the Navy's aviation history.
“It’s modern and exactly where we need to be," he said.
"The Fleet Air Arm will be commanded from this building for many a decade to come and I am proud that the headquarters team of today can embed this facility."
"I believe this building, along with the entire base renewal program sends a strong message to our community - the future of HMAS Albatross is sound.”
Amongst the special guests at the ceremony were family members of the late Lieutenant Commander Palgrave 'Pally' Ebden Carr, DFC, after whom Vice Admiral Barrett also named the main boardroom in the new headquarters building.
Palgrave Carr had a remarkable career. He was a qualified pilot, observer and bridge watchkeeper. He served in the Second World War and was taken prisoner by the Japanese when he was shot down over the Celebes in 1943.
Lieutenant Commander Carr was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1949 “for exceptional valor, courage and devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.”
Commodore Smallhorn said "Palgrave Carr’s courage and resilience epitomize the ideals of the Fleet Air Arm."
“It was enormously gratifying to see so many of his family at the ceremony and share the naming of the Pally Car Board Room with them," he said.
"I believe that knowing where you came from assists in knowing where you’re going and that’s something we try to practice every day."
"Pally Carr’s life and service offers us all much to reflect, there is always a space to reflect upon the past and the people who made the Fleet Air Arm what it is today.”