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Australian White Ensign

Navy helicopter towing an enormous white ensign

The Australian Navy White Ensign was introduced in 1967, replacing the previous practice of flying the Royal Navy’s White Ensign on Australian Navy vessels.

White ensign and tall ship Lord Nelson

On 4 October 1913, the first Royal Australian Navy fleet entered Sydney Harbour. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of that event, an International Fleet Review was held in Sydney Harbour in October 2013. Ships came from around the world — not only military vessels, but other types. One of those ships was the tall ship Lord Nelson, owned by the Jubilee Sailing Trust and home-ported in Southampton, England. (And now, sadly, retired, leaving the JST with only Tenacious.) I’d been involved with the JST and ‘Nellie’ since 1993, so was thrilled to be aboard once again, although the mixing of my old UK life and my new Aussie life was odd!

White ensign and tall ship Lord Nelson

Life in Colour (White)

“All I ask is a tall ship”

Well, my request was granted! As part of the International Fleet Review, a number of tall ships arrived in Sydney on 3 October – including ‘Lord Nelson’, on which I first sailed in 1994.

I was going to crop my feet out of this photo, but who could resist polka-dotted sneakers?

I was going to crop my feet out of this photo, but who could resist polka-dotted sneakers?

The bow of 'Europa' (in Greek myth, Europa was Phoenician princess abducted by Zeus who appeared as a white bull).

The bow of ‘Europa’ (in Greek myth, Europa was Phoenician princess abducted by Zeus who appeared as a white bull).

A forest of masts ('Europa' and 'James Craig').

A forest of masts (‘Europa’ and ‘James Craig’).

The crew on 'Oosterschelde' seem, uh, interesting.

The crew on ‘Oosterschelde’ seem, uh, interesting.

This little yacht is definitely not a tall ship, but I loved the 'paint dribble' of its mast's reflection.

This little yacht is definitely not a tall ship, but I loved the ‘paint dribble’ of its mast’s reflection.

Broken gangway on 'Lord Nelson'. Fix it, or go to the pub? Tough call.

Broken gangway on ‘Lord Nelson’. Fix it, or go to the pub? Tough call.

Helicopter and ginormous Australian White Ensign, seen behind 'Lord Nelson'.

Helicopter and ginormous Australian White Ensign, seen behind ‘Lord Nelson’.

Traditional wooden pins, and not-so-traditional life rings and lifeboat canisters ('Coral Trekker').

Traditional wooden pins, and not-so-traditional life rings and lifeboat canisters (‘Coral Trekker’).

Railing and shrouds, 'Lady Nelson'.

Railing and shrouds, ‘Lady Nelson’.

The folded spanker on 'Lady Nelson' reminds me of curls of white chocolate.

The folded spanker on ‘Lady Nelson’ reminds me of curls of white chocolate.

Bananas and apples taking the air on the stern of 'Picton Castle'.

Bananas and apples taking the air on the stern of ‘Picton Castle’.

Mirror, mirror on the wall . . .

Mirror, mirror on the wall . . .

Between a block and a baggywrinkle. (And no, I didn't make that up! A baggywrinkle, usually made from teased-apart rope, is used to prevent a sail from chafing against the rigging.)

Between a block and a baggywrinkle. (And no, I didn’t make that up! A baggywrinkle, usually made from teased-apart rope, is used to prevent a sail from chafing against the rigging.)

Mooring line on bollard.

Mooring line on bollard.

Life ring (and 'Nellie').

Life ring (and ‘Nellie’).

Foremast of 'James Craig'.

Foremast of ‘James Craig’.

Sunset over Sydney, seen from the bowsprit of 'Lord Nelson'.

Sunset over Sydney, seen from the bowsprit of ‘Lord Nelson’.

This being Sydney, fireworks were compulsory.

This being Sydney, fireworks were compulsory.

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