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Bon voyage to beloved namesake

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HMAS Newcastle commander Anita Sellick has been honoured with the Key to the City at a ceremony to farewell the ship before it is decommissioned later this month.

Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes presented the born-and-bred Novocastrian with the ceremonial honour at the weekend.

“It’s an honour to present the Key to the City to commander Sellick in recognition of her services to Newcastle and the Royal Australian Navy,” Cr Nelmes said.

Commander Anita Sellick

Commander Sellick assumed command of HMAS Newcastle in January 2018.

She joined the Royal Australian Navy 24 years earlier after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science.

For meritorious service, she was awarded a Conspicuous Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours; and holds a Chief of Joint Operations Group Commendation for a past command.

Commander Sellick embarked on her final voyage in control of HMAS Newcastle when it sailed out of the heads for the final time on Tuesday.

HMAS Newcastle is one of four Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates (FFG) in service with the Royal Australian Navy.

In recent years, she has been deployed in support of peacekeeping operations in East Timor, the Solomon Islands, and Operation CATALYST in the Persian Gulf.

Since it was commissioned to service in 1993, the ship has maintained close links with the city through active support of her adopted charity organisation, Newcastle Senior School – formerly known as the Hunter Orthopaedic School.

“HMAS Newcastle and her amazing crew have worked tirelessly throughout their association to support the school community with both financial contributions and experiences,” the school’s relieving principal, Deone Bennett, said.

“The ship’s company have raised substantial funds, providing the school with a bus, undertaking working bees and joining in sporting activities.

“And for this we sincerely thank members of the ship’s company, past and present.”

After more than 25 years of service, HMAS Newcastle will finally be decommissioned at the Garden Island Naval base in Sydney on 30 June.

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