A century of training for Cerberus

Commanding Officer HMAS Cerberus Captain Mike Oborn, Leading Seaman Jodi Farmer and HMAS Cerberus Command Warrant Officer Michael Connors with the commemorative plinth marking 100 years of service. Photo: Leading Seaman Bonny Gassner

A century of training for Cerberus

The oldest commission in the Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Cerberus, marked 100 years of service by unveiling a commemorative plinth at the original site of the establishment’s first commissioning.

The ‘cradle of the Navy’ and home of the sailor provides training for all three services with about 6000 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel undergoing training annually.

Each year, up to 1500 new-entry recruits start their careers at the RAN Recruit School. The majority of those sailors remain at Cerberus after graduation to undertake their chosen career specialist training. 

Commanding Officer Cerberus Captain Mike Oborn said the base was well equipped to deliver another 100 years of service.

“The recent upgrade project to base infrastructure and installation of new technologies will deliver world-class training and will best prepare our forces of the future,” Captain Oborn said.

“The COVID-19 restrictions have prevented us from celebrating this occasion in the way we would have liked. However, the unveiling of this plinth is one way to ensure the day does not pass unrecognised.”

Nearly every sailor and officer in the RAN has undertaken a form of training at Cerberus, and the base has played an important role in their naval careers.

“Whether you are an initial trainee or someone who returns to Cerberus as an instructor or support staff, you just fall in love with the place,” Captain Oborn said.

Cerberus is an incredible base and community and has a formative influence on the next generation of sailors. It will continue to deliver the finest sailors in any Navy, to our Navy.”

Despite the ongoing upgrade project, the ship maintains its appeal with many heritage buildings, its chapels and pristine gardens.

Purchased in 1911, the 15 square kilometre site was originally set to host a torpedo school, a destroyer and submarine base and accommodate 2000 personnel.

The base opened and commissioned as HMAS Cerberus III on September 1, 1920, although it would continue to be known as Flinders Naval Depot for many years.

Recommissioned as HMAS Cerberus I in April 1921 the base is the Navy’s premier training establishment.


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