Fleet Base East

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Fleet Base East
Part of  Royal Australian Navy
Coordinates: 33°51′50.47″S 151°13′30.66″E / 33.8640194°S 151.2251833°E / -33.8640194; 151.2251833
Near Sydney in Australia
Garden Island from Sydney Tower.jpg
Garden Island, a major part of Fleet Base East
Site history
In use Various Bases and Units (1788-1987)
Fleet Base East (1987–present)

Fleet Base East is one of the two major fleet bases of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). It consists of several naval establishments and facilities clustered around Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson).

Confusingly, naval personnel often use the term Fleet Base East to mean the naval wharves at Garden Island where ships assigned to the Fleet Base usually berth but the official designation includes several other bases and facilities as well.


Sydney was the centre of naval activity in Australia from the earliest founding of the colony in 1788. Over the course of the 19th century the Royal Navy developed facilities around Sydney Harbour, most notably at Garden Island. Those facilities passed to the newly formed Royal Australian Navy in 1911 and Sydney became home port to the Australian Fleet.

During World War II there was significant expansion of the naval facilities around Sydney Harbour, including a large expansion of the dockyards at Garden Island.

After World War II Australia began to have growing interests in the Indian Ocean areas to the west of Australia and the need for a major base on the west coast of the continent was identified. This resulted in the eventual construction of HMAS Stirling, near the city of Perth in Western Australia, in the 1970s.

In 1987 the decision was taken to permanently split the basing of the Australian Fleet. The collection of facilities and bases on Sydney Harbour was designated Fleet Base East while HMAS Stirling was designated Fleet Base West.

Constituent Bases and Facilities[edit]

HMAS Kuttabul[edit]

HMAS Kuttabul is the shore establishment that provides administrative, logistical, training and accommodation support to Fleet Base East. It is located in Potts Point, immediately adjacent to Garden Island. It also supports naval personnel assigned to other duties throughout the greater Sydney region.

Garden Island[edit]

Garden Island is the largest historic naval area on Sydney Harbour, with use going back to the founding of the colony in 1788. Greatly expanded during World War II, it now comprises major dockyard facilities run by a civilian operator, the naval wharves used by major fleet units of the RAN, various training facilities under the control of HMAS Kuttabul and a heritage precinct, open to the public, that includes the official museum of the Royal Australian Navy.

HMAS Waterhen[edit]

HMAS Waterhen is a smaller base on another part of Sydney Harbour. It is home to the RAN Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Group and has berthing facilities for the RAN's coastal mine hunting ships and other smaller vessels.

Former Constituent Bases[edit]

HMAS Platypus[edit]

HMAS Platypus, located in Neutral Bay on the northern side of Sydney Harbour, was the home base for the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service and its fleet of six Oberon class submarines from 1967. It closed in 1999 when the submarine fleet moved to Fleet Base West to coincide with the introduction of new Collins class submarines.

HMAS Rushcutter[edit]

HMAS Rushcutter was a small base at Rushcutters Bay, on the southern side of Sydney Harbour. Used for a variety of training and small boat operations, it closed in 1979.

Other Active Bases and Facilities around Sydney Harbour[edit]

HMAS Penguin[edit]

HMAS Penguin is home to several of the RAN's advanced training schools including the Diving School, the Hydrographic School and the Medical School. It is also home to a former naval hospital currently awaiting redevelopment.

HMAS Watson[edit]

HMAS Watson, located on the South Head of Sydney Harbour, is the main maritime warfare training facility for the RAN. It provides initial training for new Seaman Officers in navigation, ship handling and weapons and sensor systems as well as maritime warfare training for more senior officers as they progress towards ship command. It also trains enlisted personnel who work in Combat Systems roles and is the administrative base for RAN personnel undertaking service-sponsored education at any of the universities in the greater Sydney region.

Ships stationed[edit]

The following vessels are currently[when?] stationed at Fleet Base East:

Canberra-class landing ship dock

Anzac-class frigate

Adelaide-class frigate

Huon-class minehunters (at Waterhen)

Bay-class landing ship

Offshore support vessel

Durance-class multi-product replenishment oiler

Sail training (at Waterhen)