HMAS Watson Chapel

Conditions of use

The following conditions apply to the use of the HMAS Watson Chapel.

Booking Officer

The Booking Officer for the Chapel is the HMAS Watson Chaplain. They can be contacted at

Eligibility for use

The HMAS Watson Chapel is available for use by current permanent and reserve (SERCAT 3-5) Defence Force Members.

Civilians may also use the Chapel at the discretion of the Chapel Trustees. Eligible civilians may be ex-Defence members, personnel classified as SERCAT 2, people employed by the Department of Defence, or people with an immediate relative (eg. parent, child or sibling) who is a Defence Member.

In general, Navy personnel (SERCATs 3-5 and 6-7) may request the support of a Navy Chaplain of their own denomination to preside at a Chapel service. This request should be made through the Chaplain at HMAS Watson.

Members of the Army and RAAF are requested to contact their own Chaplaincy Branch for support.

Civilians will need to make private arrangements with their own minister or priest.

Civilian clergy are welcome to preside at services in the Watson Chapel.
Chapel Time Slots

The Chapel is usually available for use at the following times:

 1000 -1200 (Note: unavailable due to base redevelopment)

                                                         1300-1500 (Note: unavailable due to base redevelopment)


Sundays and Public Holidays:            1000-1200 



Services should begin as close as practicable to the first time slot, and all participants are to depart HMAS Watson by the second time slot.

Extensions are not normally permitted as the Chapel is frequently booked for several services in a day.

Consideration will be given to conducting funerals and memorials at other times.

Wedding Bookings

All services at the HMAS Watson Chapel are to be booked via the Chapel Booking Officer on 02 8966 2263, or by e-mail at

The APPLICATION AND UNDERTAKING FOR USE OF THE CHAPEL form must be completed and signed by applicants and clergy before the booking can be confirmed. Visiting Clergy will be provided with the Chapel’s Visiting Clergy Guide. Accepted applications will be confirmed by the Chapel Booking Officer and a Booking Reference Number will be issued that must be quoted in all correspondence especially when transferring payment electronically.

Please note that only Clergy of recognised Christian denominations are authorised under the Chapel Trust Deed to preside at services in the HMAS Watson Chapel. Civil Celebrants are not permitted for any service.

Payment for use of the Chapel must be received within a month of making the booking or the booking will lapse. Please see ‘Chapel Hire Costs and Payment’ section below for details.

Bookings for the Chapel will not be confirmed until the signed application form has been fully completed and the fee paid. Your tentative booking is available to you only for the next four weeks unless confirmed. Please email a copy of the application form with confirmation of the fee payment including the Booking Reference Number to

Baptism Bookings

All baptisms are to be organised via the Chapel Booking Officer by email at All applicants will be responsible for organising their own chaplain to perform the service, whether Defence or civilian. A completed booking form must be returned to the Booking Officer.

Note that only Clergy of recognised Christian denominations are authorised under the Chapel Trust Deed to preside at services in the HMAS Watson Chapel.

Please consult with your clergy prior to making a Baptism booking, as each denomination has different requirements in respect of baptismal preparation.

Funeral and Memorial Service Bookings

Permission and bookings for funerals and memorials may be organised by contacting the Chapel Booking Officer by email

Note that only Clergy of recognised Christian denominations are authorised under the Chapel Trust Deed to preside at services in the HMAS Watson Chapel. Civil Celebrants are not permitted for any service.

Chapel Hire Costs and Payment

The Chapel Trust is a non-profit organisation and is comprised of ex-Service personnel and overseen by the Commanding Officer HMAS Watson. The Chapel Trust was formed for the purpose of serving as a memorial to the members of the Royal Australian Navy who lost their lives in the service of their country. The Chapel receives only minimal public funding, and the income derived from fees is applied solely towards the promotion and upkeep of the Chapel.

The fees for use of the Chapel, effective for new bookings for events after 31 December 2020, are:

Serving Navy personnel (including Naval Reserve personnel [SERCAT 3-5])         $500

Army and RAAF personnel (Including Reserve personnel [SERCAT 3-5])              $1250

Civilians (with service links described above)                                                   $1750

There are no fees for funerals or baptisms; however donations will be gratefully accepted.

Fees/donations should be paid using online transfer or bank deposit to HMAS Watson Memorial Chapel Trust. 

Bank:                          Australian Military Bank

Account name:            HMAS Watson CHAPEL TRUST                                                                              
Account BSB:               642 170

Account No:                100028666

Reference:                  Surname and date of booking                                                                                                                   

Please Note: The Chapel Booking Officer will e-mail confirmation of booking after an application is received and correct payment is recorded in the Chapel’s Bank Account.

Should you need to cancel your booking, please advise the Chapel Booking Officer ASAP.  Requests for refunds should be made to the Watson Chaplain.

Music and Audio-Visual

If organ music or hymns are required please contact the Chapel organist:

Mrs Rosalie Forsyth-Grant on 02 9371 1352.

Cost is to be negotiated with the organist.

As the Chapel's acoustic qualities are excellent, Baptism and wedding parties are welcome to bring their own audio equipment in support of their special event.  Please note, there is no CD player in the chapel.

There is currently no in-built provision for audio-visual equipment. However, hirers are welcome to bring in their own equipment. Please note that the entire east and west walls of the Chapel are windows, and it is therefore extremely difficult to obtain a clear picture using a projector; portable screens are therefore recommended.

Chapel Furniture and Decoration

The entire Chapel is a Memorial and no item of furniture or decoration is to be moved or removed unless such movement relates directly to the service being undertaken, eg. the placement of prayer desks, etc.

No item of decoration is to be affixed to the walls, pew-ends or other chapel furniture by any means likely to cause damage, including pins, glue, tape, staples, blu-tac, etc. The only exception is that ribbons may be tied around pew-ends for a wedding.

Chapel users are welcome to bring their own flower arrangements into the chapel immediately prior to the service and removed on completion.

The use of confetti, rice, flower petals, etc. is not permitted in, or around the Chapel. We suggest that a non-staining alternative such as bubbles be used over the lawn area outside the Chapel.

Chapel users are responsible for returning the Chapel to its original state immediately after  services. We do not employ cleaners and all workers are volunteers; the Chapel is often used on multiple occasions during a single day.

Should the Chapel be left in an unacceptable condition following a wedding or baptism, the Command of the serving member will be contacted and a request forwarded to rectify the situation.
Base Security

1. Access

HMAS Watson is an operational Naval Base and, as such, should the security level be elevated and closure of the base initiated,
ACCESS TO THE CHAPEL WILL BE DENIED. This could occur with less than 24hrs notice and neither HMAS Watson nor the HMAS Watson Memorial Chapel Trust and its Directors bears any  responsibility for cancellations when adhering to National Security procedures.

2. Photography

Please note that photography is to be confined to the immediate area around the Chapel, ie. around the pond, the lawn on the other side of the chapel, the lawn and garden area by the HMAS Watson wall and bell diagonally opposite the Chapel.

Drones are not permitted to overfly Defence land including the chapel.

3. Movement of guests

Guests are to be reminded that they are not permitted outside the designated area, which is clearly identified by signs on each of the roads leading to other areas of the Base. Access to South Head and Hornby Lighthouse is via the main Gangway, Cliff St and the public pathway.

4. Guest List

You are required to provide a guest list of people attending the service, including registration number of vehicles entering the base. This will enable access to HMAS Watson and appropriate parking arrangements to be made. 

Five (5) working days before your wedding a guest list must be provided. Failure to comply with this requirement will hinder your guests’ access onto the base and to your event.

The list should start with surnames listed in alphabetical order. The addition of mobile phone numbers will also assist if guests cannot be located on completion of services. The main point of contact for the wedding should be clearly displayed with mobile phone number along with the Priest/Clergy details.

This information must be sent via email to:

Mess Facilities

Reception Bookings with HMAS Watson Messes are dealt with separately and are not in any way associated with the chapel.