HMAS Canberra played a starring role in Sydney’s Australia Day celebrations as the centrepiece of the traditional Salute to Australia on Sydney Harbour.

Among the hundreds of guests on board were 50 Rural Fire Service volunteers and their families, as well as brand new Australian citizens and NSW Governor Margaret Beazley.

Captain Terry Morrison, Canberra’s Commanding Officer, was pleased that his ship’s company could be part of the Salute, which acknowledged contributions to Australian society, including by Defence personnel.

“As Defence members, we are proud Australians and proud to serve our country, as many of our fellow officers and sailors have been doing during Operation Bushfire Assist and as the Royal Australian Navy does all year round," Captain Morrison said.

“Commemorating Australia Day on board Canberra by welcoming new citizens and hosting the Governor and other guests is a unique honour."

While on board Canberra, Governor Beazley received a 21-gun salute, fired from Bradfield Park in North Sydney, before guests took advantage of the best seats in the Harbour for an F/A-18 flypast coordinated by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Guests were also treated to a lively performance by the Australian Army Band, rounding out the tri-service contributions, while elsewhere on Sydney Harbour the Royal Australian Navy Band played an afternoon concert.

Governor Beazley paid tribute to all Rural Fire Service volunteers who have been battling bushfires across NSW.

The Navy continues to support Operation Bushfire Assist, providing support to communities off the NSW, Victorian and South Australian coasts. HMAS Canberra returned to work early this year to be prepared to support ADF efforts.

“I commend the ship’s company, Navy support organisations and Defence industry for their hard work in order to ensure Canberra was ready for sea,” Captain Morrison said. “We are prepared to assist in whatever way required.”