SCRIBBLER # 78.    July 2019




Welcome to Scribbler #78. It may have a long time between newsletters, but the lack of news does not mean we have been idle. Preparation is well under way for the 2020 Writers Reunion next March in Canberra.

Scribe’s Reunion

The 2020 reunion will be held in Canberra on the weekend of the 6th and 7th March 2020. The venue will be Rydges Capital Hill. Finer details and costs are in the final stages of negotiation and will be advised very soon.

Accommodation in the area is plentiful and close and with varying degrees of cost.

Rydges Capital Hill – The event venue – 02 62953144

Forrest Hotel and Apartments – 2 minute walk – Relaxed, Family-run hotel, 1 KM from Parliament House. Hotel rooms plus one and two bedroom fully appointed apartments – bring the family for the weekend – 02 62034300

Further afield but within walking distance is the Burbury, Little National, The Realm, the Kurrajong, Brassey House and further still Easts.

 Our Weekend thus far:

Friday 6th March: Registration/Meet and Greet – Between 1830 to 2200

Saturday 7th March: Reunion Dinner – 1800 to 2200

Registration forms will be available on our website, facebook or e-mail shortly along with all the finer details.

On this same weekend in Canberra, for those who like a punt or to watch horses race, Canberra’s feature race the Group 3 Black Opal Stakes will be spread over Sunday and Monday of the same weekend (long weekend in Canberra) at Thoroughbred Park.

Canberra Balloon Festival will be in full flight as part of the Enlighten, from the lawns of Old Parliament House. Talking of Old Parliament House, they will be showing ‘Dress code the Empire Collection’ showcasing the way parliamentarians dressed and the expected adherence code.


On a sad note I attended the funeral of Dean Dowling (ex-CPOWTR) in Queanbeyan NSW on the 17th of May. Many of us will remember Dean in the fondest of ways. His son spoke of the stories he would share and how important his Navy days were to him. Vale Dean.


CN has announced the establishment of a Human Resource capability within Navy. Maritime Logistic – Personnel who fundamentally contribute to the personnel effect will transit to the Personnel Community with a nomenclature change to be Maritime Personnel – Operator, Maritime Personnel-Supervisor and Maritime Personnel – Manager. Transition from the ML community to the Pers Community commences in 2020.

Past and Present – Stories to share

We have an incredible talent pool out there so keep us informed on what you are up to and share with fellow scribes. Send your news to



By Mal Lancaster


CAPTION: Centenary Suburbs RSL Sub Branch President Georges Lefevre and Sub Branch member Dick Stanton presented Gordon James with a Gallipoli jacket in appreciation of his dedicated years with the Sub Branch.

Ninety-year-old Navy veteran Gordon James is easing into retirement, having fundraised for veteran welfare for the past 15 years.

Born in Gympie in 1928, Gordon James had an early affinity with sailing. At the age of three, he took to the water in a small boat using a hessian bag as a sail.

At 11, his passion for the sea grew into a lifelong adventure that led him to run away from home. He stowed away on a train to Brisbane to join the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). His unsuccessful attempt resulted in a police escort back home to Gympie.

Not deterred by his first unsuccessful attempt, he tried again at 13 – applying to join the Navy as a midshipman. His application was rejected.

His dreams were finally fulfilled at 21, when he was accepted into the Navy administration branch as a writer. One year later, in 1950, he received his Commission from King George 6th. He served for 25 years and was awarded The Queen’s Commendation.

He served on HMAS Sydney, HMAS Australia, and was involved in the nuclear tests at Monte Bello Island, where he sustained radiation burns to his legs.

After discharging from the Navy in 1975, his same passion to serve the community was transferred to the RSL. He became an active member of several RSL Sub Branches and helped fundraise for fellow veterans.

Over the past 15 years, Gordon has volunteered thousands of hours selling ANZAC and Remembrance Day badges at Mt Ommaney shopping centre to raise money for veteran welfare at Centenary Suburbs RSL Sub Branch. Everyone walking through the shopping centre stops to talk to the Navy veteran because of his tremendous smile and ability to have a good yarn.

Age has wearied Gordon and, at 90, his physical ability to help other veterans has come to an end. He is enjoying his time living with his daughter, son-in-law and brother at the RSL Retirement Village at Pinjarra Hills.

This article first appeared in Queensland RSL News Ed 1, 2019 and has been republished with the author and editor’s permission.




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