The HMAS Ararat crew will be in city for which it was named on Anzac Day.
Ararat RSL president Frank Neulist said 16 of the 21 member crew would stay in Ararat for a few days and take part in the Anzac Day commemorative events.
The naval vessel’s commanding officer Lieutenant Fiona Simmonds will be a guest speaker at the Ararat’s main Anzac Day morning service and she and the crew members will take part in the march.
The ship’s home port is HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin. And during the crew’s time in Victoria, Mr Neulist said they would visit most of Ararat schools on Monday.
He said the RSL had been working on hosting the HMAS Ararat crew for two years and appreciated the navy command granting the contingent permission to make the trip. Mr Neulist said a representative from the naval fleet command would also attend Ararat’s Anzac Day events.
HMAS Ararat is part of a navy fleet that works in fisheries protection, immigration, customs and drug law enforcement operations. According to the Royal Australian Navy, in the event of war they would be tasked to control the waters close to the Australian mainland.
The Ararat RSL had asked the Ararat Rural City Council to donate the bell from the original HMAS Ararat to it.
But mayor Paul Hooper said at Tuesday night’s meeting, the Council decided more research was needed before a decision was made.
“We don’t want to disrespect the wishes of who gave it to us in the first place, so we want to do some research first,” Cr Hooper said.
He said the council would compile the report and present it at the next Council meeting on May 16.
The bell is now in the customer services foyer at the Municipal Offices along with the manufacturer’s stamp and a photo of the ship, signed by its crew.
Mr Neulist said the RSL had made the application because it was hosting crew members from the current HMAS Ararat on Anzac Day.
“It’s a bell from the navy and we’re an ex-service organisation, so it’s more appropriate for us to display it,” he said.