HMAS Harman’s Sapphire Jubilee

1 July 2013
The gangway to HMAS Harman photographed in 1945.
The gangway to HMAS Harman photographed in 1945.

It’s almost 70 years since Royal Australian Navy Wireless/Transmitting Station Canberra commissioned as HMAS Harman on 01 July 1943.

In the early 1920s, the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board recommended the establishment of strategic wireless stations in Canberra and Darwin. Canberra was as its distance from the coast was reduced the likelihood of enemy attack, with the RAN Wireless/Transmitting Station, Canberra, starting operations on April 20, 1939.

During World War Two, Harman provided communications services to allied Navies working in the Pacific theatre and was home to the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS), which formed in 1941.

Members of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) swab the decks at HMAS Harman in 1945
Members of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) swab the decks at HMAS Harman in 1945

Fittingly, in the first unit where women served as part of the RAN, a memorial stands in a prominent position to recognise the significant role played by all women who have served with the RAN.

Nowadays Harman supports Navy people within the Canberra/Queanbeyan region as well as those posted overseas, and is home to a number of lodger units, including communications facilities of the Chief Information Officer Group, the Air Force's 28 Squadron, several Army Reserve units and cadet units of all three services including Australian Naval Cadet unit, TS Canberra.

Harman will celebrate its Sapphire Jubilee this Saturday with a Gala raising money for their nominated charity, Queanbeyan Legacy.

Personnel at HMAS Harman conducting Victory March training
Personnel at HMAS Harman conducting Victory March training