Devonport Naval Base is the headquarters of The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Located at Devonport, New Zealand, it is the only base that currently operates naval ships. It houses several installations, including HMNZS Philomel, the Fleet Support Organisation, and the Fleet Personnel and Training Organisation.
Location and layout
The base is located on the southern tip of north shore and is divided in to North Yard and South Yard. The North Yard consists of buildings and reclaimed areas on the northern side of the Stanley Point peninsula, extending into Ngataringa Bay.
The South Yard includes Calliope Road frontage, HMNZS Philomel and the Dockyard. HMNZS Philomel lies on the eastern end of reclamation land along the base of the cliff. The Dockyard is located on the western part of the reclamation area. The North and South Yards are connected by a single-lane road tunnel.
Naval base history
Naval operations began at Devonport Naval Base in 1841. A blacksmith shop, a slipway and a barrack block were added to the base by 1864 and the Calliope Dock was officially opened in February 1888. The Navy exchanged the original site at Torpedo Bay for swampland next to the dry dock in 1891 and the site was officially declared as a Royal Navy naval base following the construction of a wharf by 1909.
Additional facilities, including fuel storage tanks, firing range and sports facilities, were built after the depot and training ship HMS Philomel arrived at the base in 1921. By 1930, several workshops were added to the dry dock and the first refit of a cruiser was undertaken in 1931.
A new agreement was signed between the Auckland Harbour Board, the New Zealand Government and the Admiralty in 1936. According to the agreement, land, workshops, wharves, jetties and seabed owned by Auckland Harbour Board were transferred to the Crown. The ownership of the dry dock continued with the Auckland Harbour Board. A gymnasium (now the chapel), and the Royal New Zealand Navy Hospital (RNZNH) were built in 1941.
Devonport naval base operations
The base provides land-based facilities and services to support RNZN ships and personnel homeported. The base ensures the operational readiness of the fleet units. The HMNZS PHILOMEL provides naval support services for the RN ships as well as foreign vessels.
The fleet Engineering Centre, manned with marine and weapons engineers, provides the equipment and repair services for deployed ships.
Homeported ships also receive helicopter support from the RNZAF (Royal New Zealand Air Force) Base, Auckland.
The dockyard includes wharf facilities, plant and equipment, and structures used for ship, vehicle and equipment repair, maintenance and construction, as well as office space and other support facilities.
It features a dry dock that is used to accommodate commercial and naval vessels. The naval dockyard is commercially managed by VT Fitzroy.
Berthing facilities are provided for RNZN operational fleet including two Anzac Class frigates, Protector Class multi-role vessels and patrol vessels as well as other naval ships and merchant vessels.
The base also features modern marine fuel storage, defueling and bilge cleaning facilities.
The Devonport naval base is equipped with modern power generation and reticulation system to supply substantial power to the berthed vessels. The RNZN ships are equipped to generate 60Hz on-board power; hence the 50Hz power provided by the national grid is converted into 60Hz.
The RNZ College coordinates training activities within the naval base. The New Entry or Officer Training School, and the Damage Control and Command schools offer training courses in marine engineering, Officer of the Watch, hydrography and communications specialisations. The RNZN BSF (Bridge Simulator Facility) includes three mock up ship bridges. These simulators are used to teach ship handling and navigation practices.
The Naval Community Office (NCO), a part of HMNZS PHILOMEL, provides support for families of Naval personnel. It offers child-care services, motels and amenities for marines. Other facilities include a Navy Museum and a Navy Fleet gymnasium.