Fond farewell and a key tribute for service | Cr Nuatali Nelmes

HONOUR: HMAS Newcastle Commanding Officer Anita Sellick with the Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, at Saturday's ceremony in Newcastle.
HONOUR: HMAS Newcastle Commanding Officer Anita Sellick with the Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, at Saturday's ceremony in Newcastle.

HMAS Newcastle Commander Anita Sellick was honoured with the Key to the City at a ceremony on Saturday to farewell the ship before it's decommissioned later this month.

I had the proud honour of presenting the born-and-bred Novocastrian the ceremonial gift 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.

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.

The Key to the City was presented to Commander Sellick in recognition of her services to Newcastle and the Royal Australian Navy. Commander Sellick assumed command of HMAS Newcastle in January last year.

She embarked on her final voyage in control of the ship which sailed out of the heads for the final time yesterday.

As Novocastrians, we're proud of our history with the vessel and we're even prouder that Commander Sellick is at the helm. 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