E NEWS – July 2022

President’s Update

I would like to thank the committee for utilising the strange and difficult times of COVID-19 to dig deeper and evaluate better, the history and inner workings of the RAN Writers Association. During this time, there has been a review of all things administrative; this has resulted in better record keeping and access.

The Committee has worked tirelessly and I thank them all very much.

To the membership, I acknowledge the numerous emails and contacts we have received and we thank you all for these as it ensures us that we are working for the good of the Association and gives ideas and support for the volunteer service given.

With seeing the back end of the pandemic (possibly wishful thinking), I would like to get another reunion up and running, possibly in 2023. To this end we would welcome volunteers to offer advice/dreams on location, when, how and who would organise (create a committee) such an event.

I am proud of the RAN Writers Association and where it is now. I came into the Committee, in the background and on a part time basis, to assist Lew and Knocker who were under the pump. That was approximately eight years ago and since then I have held numerous positions culminating with President. It is with mixed feelings that I feel it is time for me to step aside and welcome volunteers for the position of President.

Please consider volunteering for the Committee at the next Annual General Meeting. It is not onerous and can give back as much as is put in.



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President’s Update 1

Sydney Writers’ Annual Luncheon and Annual General Meeting (AGM) 3

Committee Update 3

New Webpage 4

Reunion 2022 – Advice 5

Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide 5

Vale 6

Farewells 9

The SA team hit Mildura for a ‘local’ event 12

Flashback Corner…! 15

Sponsors 18

Sydney Writers’ Annual Luncheon and Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Mark Mobley is bringing it back in 2022!

It would appear that, although not defeated, we have the COVID beast (mostly!) at bay and it is considered safe enough to re-invigorate the Annual Sydney Writers’ Luncheon.

The proposed dates are 21st October (Trafalgar Day for the older salts) or 28th October.

Situation permitting it is proposed to hold the AGM as a prelude to lunch.

POC is Mark Mobley on email

More information to follow…

Committee Update

At the last Committee meeting the following was discussed:

  • State of the Association is healthy. Funds held as at 17 Feb 22:
      • Events/mess account $1687.65
      • Savings account $27964.72.
  • Finalisation of ACT Associations documentation for Financial Years 19/20 and 20/21 have been submitted
  • Membership validation has been completed and membership database updated
  • Intention to improve the member’s pack
  • In the events space it was agreed to support the SA Scribes request funding support for their ‘welcome’ event for their ‘Mildura get together). Read more about this weekend below! It was agreed to develop a local events policy to enable more local events to be supported. Work is progressing. In the interim if you’re gathering a group of Scribes together and are looking for funding support please reach out via
  • Requirement to update the Association’s rules as a result of changes to the Associations Act will was recently updated to allow meetings to be conducted virtually – this was initially only approved as an interim measure. It is planned to bring forward the updated ‘Rules’ to the next AGM.

New Webpage

Matt Regan has continued with the Association webpage development. The initial webpage has gone live – You may have noticed you do not have a specific log-on linked to your membership as yet. We will let you know once this functionality has been established on the new webpage.

Watch this page in the new year for the next phase of the redevelopment which will improve useability and access to membership information. Don’t forget that the Association also has a social media presence on Facebook…


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Reunion 2022 – Advice

As advised in the last edition at the 17 June 2021 Association Committee meeting in light of the ongoing impacts COVID-19 is having across Australia and the risk of conducting larger scale events, it was decided to pursue smaller and localised events. More to follow in this space…including business rules for the supporting of local events.

Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

As advised in our last edition the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide was established on 8 July 2021. Under the Letters Patent, the Royal Commissioners are required to produce an interim report by 11 August 2022 and a final report by 15 June 2023. The Letters Patent set out the Royal Commissioners’ terms of reference.

The Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide is an opportunity to learn and strengthen the approach to the mental health and welfare of our people. Submissions are open now until the end of March 2022, and we encourage you to participate via the Royal Commission website.

Defence has established a Taskforce within Associate Secretary Group and headed by Air Vice-Marshal Barbara Courtney to coordinate our response. For information about the Royal Commission and our response, please visit the RCDVS intranet page.

We acknowledge the Royal Commission may impact on our people and their families. Your welfare and the welfare of those around you is our priority. Support is always available, through your chain of command, your supervisors and through the following services:

• All Hours ADF support line on 1800 628 036

• The Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608

• 1800 IM SICK (1800 467 425)

• The Employee Assistance Program (1300 687 327 (1300 OUR EAP)), and

ADF Chaplaincy, Religious and Spiritual Services

• If life is in danger, please call 000.


Kevin Douglas Thomas WILSON, ABWTR, R65827

3/2/1948 – 11/11/2021

Kevin Drinkwater has kindly provided the following Vale message.

Kevin was born in Emerald, Central Highlands Region in Queensland on 3rd February, 1948, the eldest of three brothers and one sister. Educated at Emerald State Primary School, Kevin was gifted with handwriting abilities that enabled him to develop fine calligraphy and engraving skills which placed him in high demand throughout his life. With good handwriting skills and being a keen numbers person, Kevin worked as a ‘penciller’ for a local Bookmaker for quite a few years after he discharged.

Kevin joined the RAN on 21st October, 1966, and served on HMA Ships Derwent, Stuart, Moresby and Sydney. Establishments were Cerberus, Harman, Kuttabul, Moreton and Watson. He was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75, Vietnam Logistic Support Medal, Australian Service Medal 1945-75 and the Australian Defence Medal. He was discharged ‘DEE’ on 20 October, 1978.

On the sporting front, Kevin played cricket and enjoyed a game of golf. He was a keen Darts player and played at competition level winning many trophies along the way although he had a keen appetite for most sporting events. One of his favourite sports was thoroughbred racing in which he always had a tip for any budding punter. During his time at HMAS Moreton, he would place his name down on the Wednesday Sports List as participating in ‘Equestrian’ events. When the Coxswain asked him where he participated in this sport, he replied “Eagle Farm, sometimes at Doomben’.

In his post RAN years, Kevin became an effective member of the Naval Association of Australia, Queensland Section and spent a good deal of his membership in Executive positions such as Secretary and Membership Registrar of the Sandgate Sub Section and for a several years was Secretary of the Queensland Section where he worked tirelessly in supporting the NAA in their Navy Veterans Support rolls.

In recent years, Kevin’s service caught up with him in the form of certain illnesses caused by asbestos and water contaminants and following several operations, Kevin was deemed TPI by Veterans’ Affairs. Even though one may think this would slow a person down, Kevin continued supporting his NAA Sub Section and attended fund raising sausage sizzlers at Carseldine Bunnings store, still passing on his racing tips.

There are many stories one could convey in this testimonial but it would be quite lengthy. Kevin was a dedicated husband and father and enjoyed life to its fullest. To many of his shipmates who enjoyed his company, Kevin will be sorely missed and leaves a huge gap in the veterans services he voluntarily supported for many years.

WOWTR Urmas (a.k.a John) ARRO R59854

James Carroll has kindly provided the below:

Reporting the passing of WOWTR Urmas (a.k.a John) ARRO R59854

In the Edition 2 of 2022 Queensland RSL News, which arrived in my letter box the morning of 14JUL22 , there is a Last Post report for one Urmas ARRO R59854.  No other information except he was a member of Kedron Wavell RSL Sub Branch.  I have tried to put together a short bio on him from his DSP Posting Card in the Commonwealth Archives to send to the RAN Writers Association for inclusion in the Scribbler.  But that stops when all info was transferred to EDP.  I have also consulted with tribal elders Ron Giveen, Stu Merrilees and Marty Grogan to glean what ever I can out of the memory banks.

Joined as a JR              HMAS CERBERUS             16MAR63

Promoted to ORDWTR              “                                27MAR64

Promoted to WTR2                    “                                11JAN65

Promoted to WTR            HMAS VAMPIRE                16SEP65

Promoted to A/LWTR     HMAS CRESWELL             11NOV66

Confirmed LWTR              HMAS CRESWELL             11NOV67

Promoted A/POWTR       HMAS HARMAN                9MAY69

I relieved him as the Pay Office Writer in VAMPIRE 14NOV66 and he was the CPOWTR Captains Secretary HMAS MORETON when I was there and promoted POWTR 11 APR 80.  He would have had to serve another 3 years to qualify for pension under DFRDB.  After he left the RAN he seemed to wipe any association that he had with it.  I know that he worked for Australia Post in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

From Marty – A bit of speculation here…

John ARRO was posted to Seattle in 1982 as a WOWTR to replace John “Banjo” PATISON who had a heart attack.

I was first offered promotion to WOWTR in June 1977 and when I declined it was offered to Les “Dolly” DWYER (Dcd).

When offered again in October 1968, I declined and John “Banjo” PATISON (Dcd) was promoted.  I eventually accepted promotion to WOWTR in December 1980 and took Banjo’s place on HMAS MELBOURNE as the PERSO. So from my reckoning, John A would have been promoted to a WOWTR in 1981 or 1982.

He would have had a Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) for his 2 years in the States so probably got out in 1985 or thereabouts.


James Carroll

RAN – 4JUL63 -4FEB14


Commitment to Navy – Loyal Service of Pat Mills

By Warrant Officer Marc Henderson

On Thursday 14 Apr 22, both myself and Blue Worrall attended a retirement ceremony for Pat Mills (ex-Chief Petty Officer Writer) whos service to Navy spanned a period over 45 years. Beginning his service in the Royal Navy as a Scribe back in 1976, he completed a period of 12 years before transferring to the Royal Australian Navy. He went on to serve through until 2012 when he finished his time in uniform. Not completely leaving the Navy family, he continued working in the Department of Defence as a Public Servant. Fast forward to 2022 and Pat’s full-time employment has come to an end after a very long and distinguished career.

In what Pat thought was going to be a small farewell by friends and colleagues, the arrival of Chief of Navy, VADM Michael Noonan, indicated that something unusual was underway. In recognition of Pat’s service to Navy the Public Service, VADM Noonan presented Pat with a Chief of Navy Gold Commendation.

The commendation read:

I commend you for your exemplary performance and sustained service during your Navy and Public Service careers. As Staff Officer to numerous Flag Officers, including myself, you personify the example of outstanding service.

After transferring to our Navy in July 1988 from the Royal Navy, you served as a Senior Sailor Writer until leaving to commence full-time employment with the Australian Public Service in April 2012. Your reliable focus on ensuring senior officers are successful in their day-to-day business correspondence and meeting schedule is underpinned by your determination to ensure all administration is dealt with professionally and in a timely manner.

Your mentorship of junior personnel has enhanced Navy capability within Headquarters where your advice is often sought out on how to navigate the more complex matters. Without being asked, you quietly imparted your knowledge to others including your personal “tricks of the trade” to get business transacted daily. Your vast network of contacts is generated out of professional respect for the way you deal with matters and the respect you show others.

Your performance is in keeping with the best traditions of the Royal Australian Navy. You can enjoy your retirement knowing you have contributed to the efficiency of Navy Headquarters and the ongoing professionalism of the next generation of Staff Officers within Navy. BZ!

Along with the commendation, he also received a Chief of Navy coin. Immediately following this recognition, VADM Noonan presented Pat with a farewell gift put together by his work colleagues from Navy Capability Division. In his response, Pat thanked all for attending and was very humble in the recognition received from Chief of Navy. He went on to say he had thoroughly enjoyed his whole career and recognised it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his family. Pat emphasised that he approached every stage of his career with the philosophy of do your job well and look after people, no matter who they are.

Now for those of you with a keen eye, you might notice the two photos of Pat in the presentation gift. The first as a much younger LSWTR posing for the camera on deck. The second at sea slaving away on the typewriter (well maybe a staged photo). There were quite a few people present who had never actually seen Pat with hair, and I heard more than one comment that he was quite the looker back in the day. Not to miss an opportunity, we had Pat recreate the exact pose side by side with the photo (for prosperity of course!). It may have been a long way down for his knees but ever the obliging professional that he is, he approached the shot with the same old smile.

On behalf of the wider members of the association, thanks and best wishes were passed to Pat. Not only for years of loyal service but also for his upcoming retirement.

The SA team hit Mildura for a ‘local’ event

The South Australian Scribes held an event in Mildura on the weekend 19th-21st March. The following was kindly provided by Dave Rickard

The event was certainly not as hugely represented as those of the past, but the dedicated band who attended assessed it as an enormous success. The eighteen or so who were there also included scribes from Queensland, NSW and Victoria. All agreed it was well worth the effort to make the trip to the Sunraysia region to catchup with a few old navy acquaintances from a bye-gone era.

The weekend officially began with a meet ‘n greet at Mildura’s RSL, where we were made very welcome by the club’s management team who provided an impressive spread for us to snack on while we enjoyed one or two refreshments, compliments of the Writers Association.

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On the Saturday morning, the group gathered at the Mildura wharf to board the paddleboat, Rothbury, for a trip along the Murray. On the way, we could enjoy the river scenery slip by with the stately river gums and wilting willows along the close riverbanks. We also got to observe the procedure for moving through one of the Murray’s locks, both the lowering down to the river’s level and rising up again on the way back.

Saturday night the group had to make alternative arrangements for our dinner, which originally was planned as an evening dinner cruise, but was cancelled through lack of minimum numbers. Again, the RSL came to the fore and set up a large, reserved table in a corner of their dining room where we all could enjoy some good-humoured interaction while putting away a great meal. Retiring to the club’s lounge afterwards provided more opportunity to relax with friends while keeping the bar staff busy.

Sunday morning was the beginning of another outstanding day on the river when we boarded a modern catamaran for a cruise downstream to the Trentham Winery. Team Scribes took over the top deck and wine barrel tables and enjoyed the skipper, D-Mac’s ice-cold beverages and platters, while experiencing the cool river breezes on the way to the winery. There, we partook of the superb, all-inclusive gourmet meal in the Trentham restaurant and afterwards, relaxed on the broad riverside lawns, before the trip back to Mildura.

Afterparties ensued as the Sunday afternoon turned to evening and everyone spread throughout the town, in particular, to the Hotel Grand and the impromptu mess, located in the penthouse suite of Room 12 at the fabulous Seven Pines Motel.

Most attendees wearily departed the following Monday morning, with the odd few remaining to unwind and relax with the tourist opportunities in and around Sunraysia.

What an all-round superb Scribes reunion, ably organised by SA scribe, Trevor Atkins, in the friendly, first-class venue of Mildura.

Sorry that, for various reasons, many of our fellow scribes were unable to be there.

Flashback Corner…!


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Warrack Motel

“You’re staying with Friends”


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2 Lyle St, Warracknabeal VIC 3393

03 5398 1633

The Warrack Motel is the perfect location for tourists and work crews alike which is located in lovely Warracknabeal, Victoria.  It is situated on the banks of the Yarriambiack Creek, allowing guests to go fishing a mere 20m from their room, or to just relax in the pure ambience of the creekside setting.  The main street is only 500m from the Warrack, so pubs, supermarkets, and food options are well within walking distance, whilst the recreation centre is only 2 blocks away.  The presence of an on-site camp kitchen allows guests the ability to cook their own dinner, anything from a simple BBQ to a full-scale roast dinner, rather than having to eat out if they choose.  Similarly, bacon and eggs on the BBQ is a great way to start the day.

The motel is owned and operated by Steve & Michelle, who are committed to providing you with the good old fashioned friendly service as our Motto is “You’re staying with Friends”.