Guest Speaker, Cmdr Ramon (Ray) Rees RAN ret

Commander Ramon (Ray) Rees RAN ret.  Ray is a published author, ‘Once a Sailor’, and for many years has done volunteer work with the Sydney Heritage Fleet.

“Ray Rees spent the majority of his working life, thirty-one years in fact, in the Royal Australian Navy.  He enlisted as an apprentice shipwright in 1975.  His first seafaring adventure was in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.  He went on to graduate from RMIT with a Bachelor’s Degree of Engineering in 1988 before progressing through the commissioned ranks.

Further sea time, including Gulf War I, interspersed with challenging engineering jobs ashore led him to complete two years as the Marine Engineer Officer in the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane II.  Completing the RAN Staff Course and an MBA, he was posted to San Diego, spending three and a half years working for the United States Navy in ship repair and project management.  Returning to Australia, he managed to sustain eighteen ships, large and small before transferring to the Reserves and moving into the private sector.

You’ll no longer find him in the bowels of a fighting ship, instead you will see him preserving and sailing with the Sydney Heritage Fleet on the 1874 Barque James Craig enjoying the wind and the sun on his face in the beautiful waters around Sydney.”


“On 29 May 1942, five Japanese submarines gathered outside Sydney Harbour. The war was about to come to Sydney. Three midget submarines were launched but only one managed to fire its weapons, one of which sank the ferry HMAS Kuttabul, an accommodation vessel moored at Garden Island. Twenty-one sailors lost their lives.This talk will explain what happened, how it happened and will briefly consider the aftermath. The talk will be given by Commander Ray Rees, RAN Retired. After spending over thirty years in the navy, joining as an apprentice, Ray retired as a Commander Engineer and has continued his interest in marine matters by volunteering with the Sydney Heritage Fleet restoring and crewing in a range of heritage vessels.”

“The Sydney Heritage Fleet is a unique organisation, there is nothing comparable to it anywhere else in the world. The Fleet has  eight operational vessels ranging from the 1000 tonne 3  masted barque James Craig to the 26 foot Manly speedboat  Kookaburra II. In between there are two steam ships, an Edwardian Gentleman’s schooner and three inner harbour launches. All have been restored and are crewed and maintained by the Fleet’s volunteers. The Fleet operates a full-scale shipyard and has recently replaced the riveted hull on the 745 tonne John Oxley, the last Australian coastal steamship. Also under restoration is the 345 tonne inner harbour ferry Kanangra. The Fleet achieves all this without any public funding. Our guest speaker will tell us how they manage all this and much much more”

the Sydney Heritage Fleet operates a panel of expert volunteer speakers and is delighted to provide them to community groups and clubs as requested. The SHF is a small voluntary organisation that receives no state or federal funding and has a very small communications and marketing budget consequently the opportunity to speak to your group is of importance to us.

Sydney Heritage Fleet
M: 0414 688 137
E: | Web:
Wharf 7. 58 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont, NSW 2009

“Help keep the Fleet Afloat by making a Bequest”

Sydney Heritage Fleet – A volunteer organisation since 1965, proud winner of local, national and international awards for excellence.
Sydney Heritage Fleet is a signatory to the Statement of Principles for the Recognition of Volunteers.
Donations to the Fleet of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Next Post

Changeover Notes / Bulletin / Nomination of a Paul Harris Fellow

Sat Jun 25 , 2022
Thank you to all those that attended last night’s Changeover to thank the board for all their hard work & to welcome in our new board. Whilst the numbers were down on previous years, the event was by all accounts a huge success. Congratulations to Graeme as the recipient of […]
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