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March 17, 2011
THE strong sense of commu-
nity between 817 Squadron
(CMDR Paul Moggach) and
their adopted home town,
Goolwa, was evident in the enthusias-
tic support for all events the squadron
participated in during their final offi-
cial visit to the town.
The visit began on February 24 with
school visits to Eastern Fleurieu School
in Strathalbyn, and Goolwa Primary
School and Investigator College in
After landing on the schools' ovals,
crew from Shark 05 spoke to students
about the Sea King helicopter, answered
questions and allowed students to walk
through the airframe.
On February 26 the squadron par-
ticipated in their final Freedom of Entry
(FOE) down Cadell Street, a Ceremonial
Guard in support of the opening of the
South Australian Wooden Boat Festival
and a Ceremonial Sunset.
The FOE involved 75 personnel
from 817 Squadron including the Guard
and Colour Party, 22 members from the
RAN Band and six members from Navy
Cadet Unit TS Noarlunga.
The history between Goolwa and
the squadron was emphasised by
Alexandrina Mayor Kym McHugh dur-
ing a speech at the parade.
"The adoption of 817 Squadron
by the riverport town of Goolwa came
about during bicentennial celebrations in
1988," he said.
"Originally wanting to adopt a RAN
ship, South Australia's only inland
port was inaccessible to a surface ship
because of the Murray Mouth, lock and
"The then-Chief of Naval Staff,
RADM Michael Hudson, suggested
the council consider adopting a RAN
helicopter squadron. This was approved
by council and HS 817 RAN -- as it was
known then -- was formally adopted."
The South Australian Governor
and Parade Reviewing Officer, RADM
Kevin Scarce, complimented the CO on
the presentation of the squadron, band
A moving tribute was also held at the
Goolwa RSL sub-branch on February 27
attended by members of squadron, their
host families and members of the RSL
for the rededication of the 817 Squadron
RSL Club President Bob Plummer
addressed the large crowd and local
Padre Reg Farnell provided a formal
blessing of the memorial, which features
a dedication on the stone and the tail
rotor blade of a Sea King with crosses
representing the six personnel who have
lost their lives while serving with 817
After the Last Post was performed
by Anne Greer, wreaths were laid
by CMDR Moggach, Commander
Australian Fleet RADM Stephen
Gilmore, Councillor McHugh and Mr
In a surprise presentation, the squad-
ron presented the RSL club president
with an Australian White Ensign as well
as the first and last bottles of wine of a
commemorative vintage purchased dur-
ing a previous visit.
A final contribution to the Wooden
Boat Festival Program on February 27
highlighted the search and rescue capa-
bility of the Sea King helicopters.
Shark 05, piloted by LCDR Nick
Bane, completed a search and rescue
demonstration, winching LSA Greg
Doran from the choppy waters in the
CMDR Moggach said the squadron
had been looking forward to the visit
to Goolwa for some time, though were
reflective of it being their final visit as a
formed squadron ahead of the Sea King
fleet being retired from service.
"The squadron's been very excited in
the lead up to this weekend," he said.
"It's our final year of commission
with the Sea King helicopter and it is
fitting that we return to Goolwa for the
first of our key decommissioning events
for the year."
Sad goodbye to
FAREWELL, FRIENDS: (Above) Members of 817
Squadron march down Cadell Street, Goolwa, dur-
ing the Freedom of Entry parade.
Photo: LEUT Kelli Lunt
MEET 'N' GREET: (Right) ABATA Andy Earle
shakes hands with students from Goolwa Primary
School during a visit with Shark 05.
Photo: ABIS Sarah Williams
In a teary farewell to the town that has opened their
hearts and homes over 24 years, 817 Squadron has
left Goolwa, South Australia, following their final
official visit before the squadron decommissions at
the end of 2011. LEUT Kelli Lunt reports.
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