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DIVE INTO A FABULOUS
July 22, 2010
By ABCIS Melanie Schinkel
A RAN family who have collectively
served more than a century were hon-
oured recently with a custom-made
model of an FFG made by a model-
ler who wanted to acknowledge their
contribution to naval history.
Representing one of six Grogans
who are serving or have served, WO
Martin 'Marty' Grogan received a
detailed 1/100-scale model of HMAS
Melbourne (CMDR Michael Harris)
from modeller and friend of five years,
Max Montague, 74, from Cheltenham
Reservist and curator of the HMAS
Cerberus (CAPT Mark Hill) Museum,
WO Grogan said he met Max through
the HMAS Sydney Association and
was surprised by the unexpected ges-
"I was absolutely blown away
because I just mentioned to him one
day how long my family had served
and six months later I'm presented
with a massive model of Melbourne,"
WO Grogan said.
"Max knew my son, Darren, had
served as a navigation officer in
Melbourne and I served in Melbourne
II and was part of her decommission-
ing crew, so I guess that's why he
decided to create the model of her."
Retiree and former pusser Max
Montague said he started building
models of Australian warships about
six years ago and created two mod-
els of Melbourne, one for the Grogan
family and another for the Cerberus
Museum's Melbourne display.
"I know Marty personally and he
has been very helpful to me when it
comes to gathering information for my
models," Mr Montague said.
"The Grogan's have made a huge
contribution to Australian naval his-
tory and I wanted to show them it was
"If indirect family are included,
altogether I think they have served
nearly 200 years."
He said the models took him about
18 months to construct and that, even-
tually, he would build 20 Australian
warships, which would be donated to
"You have to build them at a cer-
tain date because they get upgraded
and change regularly," he said.
Modeller honours family history
"I took a lot of photos of
Melbourne in the '90s and naval artist
Randall Wilson loaned me his albums
to look at -- photographs, drawings and
Australian Warship magazine are all
sources that help me refine the details
on my models.
"It's the challenge of getting all
the information together and talking
to former members who served on the
ships that I enjoy, and I get a lot of sat-
isfaction from seeing a project through
to the end."
Brendan Grogan, WO Grogan's
older brother, started the family's RAN
tradition in 1963 and served for nine
Five months later WO Grogan
joined and is the longest-serving mem-
ber of the family.
WO Grogan said he and his brother
served in HMAS Sydney III togeth-
er in 1964 and he left the permanent
Navy as a warrant officer writer to join
the reserves in 1983.
"I have served 47 years -- in fact, I
have been to sea as every NCO rank
starting from ordinary seaman through
to warrant officer," WO Grogan said.
"No other writer to my knowledge
has done that. Hopefully, I will be able
to notch-up 50 years of service -- only
three to go, so that's my goal in life."
WO Grogan's sister-in-law Helen
joined as a driver and was part of the
Women's Royal Australian Naval
His nephew, Christopher, served
seven years as a marine technician and
niece, Alison Lewington, served 15
years and is a reservist leading seaman
writer in Canberra.
CMDR Darren Grogan, who is
chief staff officer of patrol boats in
Darwin, followed in his father's foot-
steps and served 23 years with about
17 of those spent at sea.
WO Grogan said he had not saluted
his son yet because he hadn't been
caught in uniform.
"That's the only reason I'm staying
stay in longer to beat him in length of
service," he said.
"Between the two of us we have
completed 70 years of service."
The family's legacy will be etched
into history as the six generations
eventually autograph the decks of the
Melbourne models, which will reside
at the Cerberus museum for future
generations of Grogans, sailors and
officers to appreciate.
"I'm probably the only modeller in
the world who has former crew mem-
bers' signatures on the decks of the
models -- it just creates a nice piece of
history," Mr Montague said.
A TRIBUTE: Max Montague and WO Martin Grogan marvel at the finer details on Max's model of HMAS Melbourne, presented to the Grogan fam-
ily for 100 years of service in the RAN.
Photo: Henny Lenihan
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