- Lind, L.J.
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1990 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
The difficulty of obtaining space to house the library has been a continuing problem for many years, however when the Coxswain’s Quarters at the northern end of the Museum Building become available this problem should be resolved. It is intended to integrate the Society Library with the Museum Library.
1977 and an Essay competition
1977 was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Year and the Society decided to mark the significance of the year by conducting a Naval Historical Essay Competition. The competition was open to all Society members and serving members of the RAN. Prizes were $250, $100 and $50. Entries were to be from 10,000 to 15,000 words.
Some sixty entries were received and the majority were of a high standard. The Judging Committee was set a difficult choice but the entry judged to stand out above all was that submitted by Commander W.S. Bracegirdle, DSC & 2 Bars, RAN (Ret.). The subject of his entry was the Royal Salute fired by HMAS BATAAN off the coast of Korea in 1952. This salute of a monarch on accession to the throne was different to any fired before by a ship of the British Navy. HMAS BATAAN fired 21 live rounds at the enemy!
Commander Bracegirdle was resident in England and could not be present at the presentation of awards which was held in HMAS MELBOURNE. The other prize winners were Midshipman N.J. Goldrick, RAN and Mr J. Kelly.
One change occurred in the Committee at the Annual General Meeting of that year. Mr Ross Gillette was replaced as a Committeeman by Mr Reg Salmon.
Monthly address and change of venue
The venue of our members had changed from the Gallipoli Memorial Club to the Dockyard Theatrette at Garden Island. The Society was to use this venue for the next thirteen years.
From our inception the monthly addresses have been of a very high standard both in content and in presentation. 1977 was no exception but was unusual in that three of our speakers were flag officers. They were Admiral Sir Victor Smith, KBE, CB, DSC, ‘My Early Years In The Service’; Rear Admiral B.W. Mussared, CBE, ‘The Class of 1932’; and Surgeon Rear Admiral J.A.B. Cotsell, AO, ‘A Naval Surgeon in Two Navies’. The first was Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the second an Engineer and the third a Surgeon.
There were many colourful figures in the Society at this period. In this category must be included Commodore Victor Knight, DSC who had participated in the raid on Zeebrugge in 1918, commanded corvettes and the landing ship HMAS WESTRALIA in World War 2 and in the days of peace was the popular captain of the AWATEA on the Trans Tasman Service.
With the closure of RAN bases in the New Guinea area in 1977 our Papua New Guinea Chapter closed down. Members of the Chapter transferred to either the central body of the Society or to the Chapters. Our other three Chapters were now firmly established. From their formation the Society had granted them wide autonomy to conduct their own meetings, arrange speakers and initiate projects. Each was given an annual subsidy to meet their administrative expenditure. Meetings with representatives of the Chapters were held annually.
1978 – Exhibitions, Days at Sea and Day Tours
In early 1978 we received a number of requests to mount exhibitions in department stores and banks. The first of these was at Grace Bros new store at Chatswood. It was estimated over 30,000 people viewed this exhibition in the ten days it was open. An equally successful exhibition was mounted in the main branch of the Bank of New South Wales. A third display was mounted at Victoria Barracks.
Fifty members went to sea in the flagship, HMAS MELBOURNE on 30 May. Our host was Commodore Rothesay Swan who ensured members would have a day they would long remember. A highlight of this day was antisubmarine searches by helicopters and a gunnery display by escorting frigates.
In October a tour of Cockatoo Island was arranged which I had the pleasure of conducting. Sixty-two members attended and they were shown both docks, workshops and the historical buildings dating back to convict days. The management of Cockatoo provided launches to transport the party.
The new East Dock Wharf fronting the Barracks Building at Garden Island was nearing completion this year and a plan was put forward to lay out a stretch of green parkland behind the wharf. I put forward the suggestion to the General Manager of the dockyard to invite ship associations to plant trees in this area to commemorate their ships.