Naval bases the focal point of past royal family visits

The last few months have been a Royal Family frenzy, from Harry and Meghan’s engagement, to the hotly anticipated Royal Wedding, it’s something we all love to watch and hear about. 

But, it appears the Shoalhaven has had its fair share of royal family visits over the years, and we have the Royal Australian Navy to thank for it. 

Edward, Prince of Wales royal visit to Jervis Bay in June 1920 is one of the most well-documented visits in the regions’s history. 

ROYAL FRENZY: The Duke of Edinburgh, now known as Prince Philip on a visit to HMAS Albatross in November 1956. Photo: supplied.

ROYAL FRENZY: The Duke of Edinburgh, now known as Prince Philip on a visit to HMAS Albatross in November 1956. Photo: supplied.

The Prince arrived in Jervis Bay on board the  Royal Navy warship, Renown. When he disembarked at the Captains Point pier, the Destroyer Brisbane fired the royal salute. 

After passing through a guard of honour formed by marines from the Brisbane, Prince Edward was formally welcomed to the Shoalhaven by Admiral Grant and Minister for the Navy, Sir Joseph Cook.

A public holiday had been proclaimed in the district for the occasion, which was originally set down for a Tuesday but was then brought forward a day.

The Shoalhaven Telegraph referred to this as a “bungling of altered arrangements” but despite this and the limited communications, it’s said that 1000 people were gathered to see the Prince.

People traveled from as far north as Wollongong in cars, buses and coaches while the Steamer Eden brought 175 people from Ulladulla to Jervis Bay for the occasion. 

After a guided tour of the Royal Australian Naval College, the Prince watched a rugby match between a team from the college and one from the crew of the Renown.

However while in the district, he traveled to Tomerong where he went for a horse ride, using James Murray’s horse Smart in a group led by returned solider Eric Hawken.

He also dropped in on McGuire and Sons sawmill, in what one report described as “his first glimpse of working life in the bush”. 

The Shoalhaven’s seconded royal visit occurred in November 1956, when Prince Philip, then known as the Duke of Edinburgh, visited HMAS Albatross. 

The Duke of Edinburgh was in Australia for the 1956 Olympic Games and flew from Canberra to Albatross on a naval Dakota aircraft. 

On his arrival, the Duke was welcomed by then Minister for the Navy Mr Davidson, Commanding Officer of HMAS Albatross PHE Fanshawe and Flag Officer in charge of Eastern Area Rear Admiral HJ Buchanan. Captain. 

The Duke was taken on a tour of the station, where he inspected the new canteen and watched the mechanics at work. 

From the control tower, he watched an air display that featured all types of aircraft in service at the station, from helicopters to Sea Fury, Vampire Jet, Firefly and Gannet aircraft.

Three pilots in Sea Furies gave a thrilling display of aerobatics, while world glider speed record holder Commander G.A.J. Goodhart provided an exhibition of gliding aerobatics before landing gracefully in front of the tower.

The officers and men of HMAS Albatross presented the Duke with a brass ornament that featured a boomerang and an albatross. 

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