Reception for the Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers Association
Ladies and gentlemen, Kaye and I are honoured to welcome you all to Government House this afternoon.
We are particularly delighted to welcome Patrons, Vice Admiral Russ Crane and Commander Jake Linton, – as well as distinguished members of your association’s very first Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving course, conducted at HMAS Rushcutter in 1955.
Ever since its inception more than 65 years ago, the Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers Association has made an invaluable contribution to the lives of clearance divers and their loved ones by providing camaraderie, advocacy and mateship.
Mateship: it’s one of those Australian terms that may be difficult to define but is understood by everyone who knows this country well.
It embraces loyalty, equality and solidarity. It means looking after each other. A listening ear. A helping hand. It’s important for all – but for service personnel it’s essential.
As a nation, we highly regard those who are prepared to sacrifice themselves and risk their lives for others. And we fully appreciate the toll it takes when one stares in the face of danger on a regular basis.
Much benefit can be found in the mateship afforded by the RANCDA, through sharing stories or simply letting off steam.
It is associations like yours which help people deal with the difficult aspects of their job, and occasionally to help people rise again. That is true esprit de corps.
We are also a nation girt by sea, and our clearance divers have an international reputation for excellence and effectiveness – thanks in many ways to the work of the Association.
There is so much I could say about the Association, but what I really want to tell you is how tremendously grateful our community is that you are here, for members and importantly for their families – and Kaye and I are delighted to see so many partners here this afternoon.
From the early missions in the 50s to your efforts in clearing Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River after the 2010-11 flood, your work may often be hidden below the waterline, but it does not go unnoticed.
I applaud you for taking the time to participate in this week’s biennial reunion, held for the first time in Brisbane. I thank the national and State branches for organising the week’s activities, including national President, Commander Tedman, who has served not just our nation with distinction, but also this vice-regal office as one of my current Honorary Aides-de-Camp.
I now invite you to enjoy the hospitality of Government House.