Warships sail in Sydney Harbor for navy centenary

SYDNEY (AP) — Warships from 17 nations including the United States and China were welcomed in Sydney Harbor on Friday as the city celebrates the centenary of the fledgling Australian navy fleet’s first visit.

Thousands of spectators lined the harbor shores under blue skies to watch the warships power into Australia’s largest city.

Seven Australian warships entered the harbor in line as the first Australian navy fleet of seven cruisers and destroyers did for the first time on Oct. 4, 1913.

Around 40 warships plus 16 tall ships will participate in the International Fleet Review on Saturday, which is the main event commemorating the arrival of the original Royal Australian Navy fleet a century ago.

Governor-General Quentin Byrce, who represents Australia’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, welcomed the ships on Friday and will officially review the fleet on Saturday.

Prince Harry, fourth in line to the British throne, will also attend Saturday’s event.

Australia was a collection of six independent British colonies until they federated in 1901. Battlecruiser HMAS Australia became the navy’s first flagship two years after it was launched in Britain.

The United States sent guided missile cruiser USS Chosin and China sent destroyer Qingdao.

The Defense Department said warships were also sent by Britain, Brunei, Micronesia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and Tonga.

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