HMAS Stirling

Coordinates: 32°14′30″S 115°41′00″E / 32.24167°S 115.68333°E / -32.24167; 115.68333
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HMAS Stirling
Part of Fleet Base West
Garden Island, Western Australia in Australia
Coat of arms of HMAS Stirling
Coordinates32°14′30″S 115°41′00″E / 32.24167°S 115.68333°E / -32.24167; 115.68333
TypeNaval base and military airport
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defence
OperatorRoyal Australian Navy
Site history
Built1978 (1978)
Garrison information
Captain Ken Burleigh, RAN
HMAS Stirling
Airport typeMilitary
OperatorRoyal Australian Navy
LocationGarden Island, Western Australia
Elevation AMSL30 ft / 9 m
YGAD is located in Western Australia
Location in Western Australia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 450 1,476 Asphalt
Sources: AIP[1]

HMAS Stirling is a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base that is part of Fleet Base West situated on the west coast of Australia, on the Indian Ocean. The base is located on Garden Island in the state of Western Australia, near the city of Perth. Garden Island also has its own military airport on the island (ICAO: YGAD). HMAS Stirling is currently under the command of Captain Ken Burleigh, RAN


HMAS Stirling is named after Admiral Sir James Stirling (28 January 1791 – 23 April 1865).[2] Stirling, a Royal Navy officer and colonial administrator, landed on Garden Island, Western Australia in 1827 and returned as commander of the barque Parmelia in June 1829 to establish and administer the Swan River Colony in Western Australia. He was the first Governor of Western Australia, serving between 1828 and 1838.[3]

The planning of Stirling began in 1969 when, after it was decided to create the Two-Ocean Policy, a feasibility study into the use of Garden Island as a naval base was begun. The 4.3 km (2.7 mi) causeway linking the island with the mainland was completed in June 1973. Construction of the wharves and workshops began in early 1973 and accommodation in 1975 with the facility, including the new Fleet Base West, being formally commissioned on 28 July 1978.[4]

The first major unit to call Fleet Base West home was HMAS Stuart, having first been assigned to Stirling in 1984 for several years and, after refitting in the east, again in 1988 until decommissioning in 1991. The first submarine to be based at Stirling was HMAS Oxley in 1987. Later, the headquarters of the Australian Submarine Squadron was relocated there in 1994.[2]

Stirling has expanded significantly within its existing boundaries and is the largest of the RAN's shore establishment, with a base population of approximately 2,300 service personnel, 600 defence civilians and 500 contractors. Amenities included berthing and wharves, vessel repair and refit services, a ship-lift, and a helicopter support facility, as well as medical facilities, fuel storage and accommodation. The base also hosts the Submarine Escape Training Facility – one of only six in the world and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.[2]

Garden Island[edit]

Garden Island is 10 km (6.2 mi) in length, 1.5 km (0.93 mi) wide, and is 13 km2 (5.0 sq mi) in area, with Stirling occupying approximately 28% of that area. The remaining portion of the Island is nature reserve, the navy has been active in the removal of introduced flora and fauna species. The island has its own quarantine conditions, which prohibit bringing of plants and animals to the island.[5]

Submarine Rotational Forces[edit]

In March 2023, the US, UK and Australia announced, as part the AUKUS security partnership, the Submarine Rotational Forces-West (SRF-W) initiative whereby the US and UK would maintain a permanent rotational presence of nuclear-powered submarines at the base. Under the AUKUS partnership, US and UK submarines will visit Stirling' more frequently and remain for longer. Australia's nuclear-propelled submarines will be based at Stirling from the early 2030's.[6][7]

In December 2023, it was announced that USS Emory S. Land (AS-39), a submarine tender, would deploy from Guam to Stirling, and conduct the US Navy's first submarine maintenance work in Australia during the southern hemisphere winter. 30 Australian sailors will be embarked to learn how to repair a Virginia-class submarine, as part of the AUKUS agreement.[8]

Ships stationed[edit]

HMAS Sheean (front left), HMAS Collins (front right), HMAS Sirius (back left) and ex-HMAS Westralia at HMAS Stirling in 2006

Stirling is home port to 11 fleet units, including six Anzac class frigates, all six of the Collins class submarines operated by the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service, and a replenishment vessel.[2][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ YGAD – Garden Island (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 21 March 2024
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "HMAS Stirling Naval Base, Garden Island, Australia". Naval Technology. 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  3. ^ Crowley, F.K. (1967). "Stirling, Sir James (1791–1865)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press. OCLC 768976880.
  4. ^ a b "HMAS Stirling". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Defence Environmental Management".
  6. ^ "Fact sheet: Trilateral Australia-UK-US Partnership on Nuclear-Powered Submarines". GOV.UK. 13 March 2023. Retrieved 14 March 2023. Submarine Rotational Forces. From 2027, the United Kingdom and the United States plan to establish a rotational presence of one UK Astute class submarine and up to four U.S. Virginia class submarines at HMAS Stirling near Perth, Western Australia – this initiative will be known as 'Submarine Rotational Force-West' (SRF-West).
  7. ^ "Perth to become 'home' to AUKUS nuclear submarines under $8 billion naval base expansion". ABC News. 14 March 2023. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  8. ^ First US submarine repairs in Australia scheduled for summer, Megan Eckstein, Defense News, 2023-12-01

External links[edit]