Marine Artist Ian Hansen has completed a restoration of a badge from the HMAS Newcastle. The badge had been overpainted to suit someone’s décor, then found its way into an antique store in Strathalbyn, South Australia, before an eagle eyed militaria collector recognised it for what it was and after carrying it around South Australia & Kangaroo Island on a road trip for six weeks, repatriated it ‘home’ to Newcastle.
Navy sailors who commissioned onto HMAS Newcastle in 1993, tell stories of badges going missing, usually at the hands of a rival ship. They would then have to be replaced. The badge featured on either side of the gangway entrance and on the bridge. HMAS Newcastle navy personnel were also known to play and sing the Star Trekkin’ song (number one in the UK singles chart in 1987), when breaking away from replenishment at sea, hence the ‘Enterprise’.
Ian, who served on HMAS Sydney during the Vietnam War was responsible for repainting and maintaining HMAS Sydney’s coat of arms. Miniature versions of the badge were created to give to visiting dignitaries and it was Ian who was responsible for painting them. His flair as an artist was recognised even then.
When Ian left the navy, he became a full time career artist.
Ian spent a week in between creating new marine artworks for exhibition and sale at Festival of Two Palettes, striping back the overpaint, to reveal HMAS Newcastle’s green and gold colour scheme. Minor restoration was also required. The emblem will be displayed at Morpeth Gallery, along with Ian’s paintings of naval battles from history, clipper ships & ocean vessels. Every one of the marine artworks technically accurate.
HMAS Newcastle (FFG 06), named for the city of Newcastle, New South Wales, the largest regional city in Australia, was an Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate. The last ship of the class to be constructed, Newcastle entered service with the Royal Australian Navy in 1993.
During her career, the frigate has operated as part of the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce, served in the Persian Gulf, and responded to the 2006 Fijian coup d’état.
Following an overhaul of the RAN battle honours system, completed in March 2010, Newcastle‘s service was recognised with two honours: “East Timor 1999–2000” and “Persian Gulf 2002–03”. In April 2010, Newcastle was presented with the RAN Gloucester Cup, recognising her as the most efficient ship during 2009.
In mid-2016 Newcastle conducted first-of-class flight trials with a ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle (UAV) as part of the development of Navy’s UAV capability. In November that year the frigate sortied from Sydney to intercept a merchant ship off the north coast of New South Wales which was believed to be involved in drug smuggling. In June 2017 it was reported that Newcastle had deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Manitou on her sixth deployment to the region.
In April 2017 184 service personnel onboard HMAS Newcastle took part in a Freedom on Entry march in Newcastle and the ship held a public open day at Throsby Wharf. On 1st July, 2018 HMAS Newcastle again visited its home city to fanfare and a seven round salute from Fort
Scratchley. Not long after it was announced HMAS Newcastle would be decommissioned on 30th June, 2019.
On board for the final voyage of HMAS Newcastle, in 2019, were four former commanding officers: Commodore Steve Hamilton, Commander Gerry Christian, Commander Justin Jones and Captain Nicholas Stoker, as well as the ships commanding officer Anita Sellick, who was born and bred in the Hunter, according to the Department of Defence.
On 27 December 2019, it was announced that Newcastle and Melbourne would be sold to Chile.
Newcastle was renamed and commissioned into the Chilean Navy on 15 April 2020 as Capitán Prat, pennant number FFG-11.