Press release Prime Minister Bob Hawke 27 September 1988 (historic)

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and His Royal Highness Prince Claus of the Netherlands will make an official visit to Australia from Monday October 24 to Saturday November 5. It will be the first time a reigning Dutch monarch will have visited Australia.

The visit will take the Royal Couple to the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, South Australia, victoria and New South Wales.

It is fitting that Her Majesty and His Royal Highness visit Australia to honour our Bicentenary, as Dutch navigators played such an important part in the discovery by Europeans of this continent.
Indeed the Dutch were the first recorded Europeans to sight and to set foot on Australia, and the mapping of much of the western part of our coastline was carried out by them.

In the ACT, the Queen and Prince Claus will be given a ceremonial welcome at RAAF Base Fairbairn on 24 October. Later that day, they will be the guests of Their Excellencies the Governor-General and Lady Stephen at a State Dinner. Other highlights of their visit to Canberra will include a lunch hosted by myself and Mrs Hawke at Parliament House on 25 October, and visits to the Australian War Memorial, Mt Stromlo Observatory, the Regatta Point Exhibition and the Canberra School of Art, as well as a reception for members of the local Dutch community. Other important events in the visit will be the unveiling of a monument to the Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman, in Hobart, and attendance at the Melbourne Cup.
Further details of the visit elsewhere in Australia will be announced separately by the Premiers of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

I know many thousands of Australians of Dutch descent – and indeed all Australians – will give Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus a warm and enthusiastic welcome.

Bob Hawke

Royal Netherlands Navy supported the Royal Visit

Dutch Navy fleet components took part in an extensive training and flag display voyage called ‘Fairwind ’88’ from 1 August to 19 December 1988, covering the waters of East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. This impressive maritime display included HNLMS. Witte de With, two standard frigates, including HNLMS. Kortenaer, and a supply ship.

One of the highlights of the trip was the support provided by the Navy during the state visit to Australia by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus in October and November 1988. The royal couple arrived in Sydney on board HNLMS. Witte de With, where they were warmly welcomed. A memorable moment was captured on camera, when Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus disembarked with all the ceremonial splendor, after which the other ships could moor.

This event not only marked an important diplomatic moment between the Netherlands and Australia, but also highlighted the versatility and ability of the Dutch Navy to operate globally and support royal visits with an impressive naval representation. Fairwind ’88 served as a powerful demonstration of maritime cooperation and diplomacy, enhanced by the symbolism of the royal visit.

A collision occurred during the Group Deployment and the Hr.Ms. Kortenaer needed to be fitted with a new Tyne gas turbine after a fire in the port cruise turbine following the visit to Australia .

The ultimate failure in 1989 of the so-called ANZAC project, the potential supply of ten (multipurpose) M-frigates to Australia and New Zealand, which had heavily influenced a port visit to Sydney during the visit, was a disappointment for both the Dutch business community and the Royal Netherlands Navy. This order could have provided the Ministry of Defense with significant cost savings in the operation of the naval forces. Internal Australian political relations and the price difference were responsible for Canberra ultimately deciding to prefer the consortium in which Blohm + Voss participated with its financially supported by the German government MEKO frigate over the Australian Warships Systems consortium in which the Dutch shipyard Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde participated.

Clippings of the Royal Visit

The information below has been collected by Paul Budde. He had the honour to be part of many of the official activities and very much enjoyed the contacts with the navy ships where he had several official and unofficial parties. Two of the sailors stayed at their place during their visit.