Key to the City for proud Novocastrian Naval Officer

15 Jun 2019

HMAS Newcastle Commander Anita Sellick has been honoured with the Key to the City at a ceremony today to farewell the ship before it’s decommissioned later this month.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes presented the born-and-bred Novocastrian the ceremonial honour following HMAS Newcastle’s Freedom of Entry March, which gave the public a chance to farewell the vessel and her company for the final time.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes honouring HMAS Newcastle Commander Anita Sellick with Federal Senator Arthur Sinodinis

The Lord Mayor said the gesture was a tribute to commander Sellick’s Newcastle roots and her formidable achievement, as a woman, rising through the ranks of one of Australia’s most respected, traditionally male-dominated institutions.

"It's an honour to present the Key to the City to Commander Sellick in recognition of her services to Newcastle and the Royal Australian Navy," the Lord Mayor said.

“Commander Sellick assumed command of HMAS Newcastle in January last year and will embark on her final voyage in control of the ship when she sails out of the heads for the final time on Tuesday.

“We’re proud of our history with the vessel and we’re even prouder that Commander Sellick is at the helm.”

Commander Sellick leading her company as they Exercised their Right of Freedom of Entry to the City.

Commander Anita Sellick joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1994 after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science.

For meritorious service, she was awarded a Conspicuous Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours; and holds a Chief of Joint Operations Group Commendation for a past command.

She also holds a Baceholor of Science (Oceanography/Computer Science) from the University of NSW and is studying her Master of Business Administration.

Since it was commissioned in 1993, the ship has maintained close links with Newcastle through active support of her adopted charity organisation, Newcastle Senior School, formerly known as the Hunter Orthopaedic School.

The ship's company at today's march.

The ship’s company has raised substantial funds over the years, providing the school with a bus, undertaking working bees and joining in sporting activities.

The final fundraising campaign, ‘The Great Race’, aims to raise $20,000 and is still live at

Both Commander Sellick and the ship’s departure on Tuesday will be marked by a seven-gun salute from the historic guns at Fort Scratchley followed by return volley from the ship.

After more than 25 years of service, she will finally be decommissioned at the Garden Island Naval base in Sydney.

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