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A service founded by Vietnam veterans
December 9, 2010
An unlikely discovery
By Alisha Welch
AN OFFICER working in Russell
Offices made an overwhelming fam-
ily discovery recently when he found
his grandfather's original 1930 RANR
commissioning certificate hanging on
a wall near his directorate's tea room.
LCDR Mark Bunnett, Staff Officer
Training Systems/Health Services/Legal
Officers at the Navy People Career
Management Agency (NPCMA), had
walked past his grandfather's certificate
hundreds of times, unaware a piece of
family history was literally centimetres
LCDR Bunnett said he discovered the
certificate one day when he got up from
his desk to stretch his legs.
"Outside our tea room there is a wall
covered in frames -- no one knows how
they came to be at Russell Offices,"
LCDR Bunnett said.
"I had never taken any interest in what
was in the frames but on this particular
day I stopped to have a browse. Suddenly,
one name caught my eye -- Hugh Donald
Bunnett. What I was looking at was my
grandfather's original commissioning cer-
tificate signed by the Governor-General
of the day, Sir Isaac Isaacs."
LCDR Bunnett said he and his family
were overwhelmed by the find.
"My father was just as surprised as
me," he said. "In fact, he thought he had
the commissioning certificate but after
checking found he only had the certifi-
cates of appointment and resignation.
"I told my aunt what had happened
and she thought it was all 'very spooky'
because she had been trying to find Pop's
certificate on the internet for some time."
The discovery this year was fitting.
"My grandfather turned 100 this year
and has always spoken passionately about
the Navy," he said.
In 1910 the Government introduced a
compulsory national service scheme for
all Australian males. They were required
to serve for 11 years, from the age of
14 to 25. From 14 to 18 they served in
either the Army or Naval Cadets, depend-
ing on where they lived. From 18 to 25
they transferred to the Militia or Naval
"My grandfather lived in
Williamstown, Melbourne -- a naval area
-- so he became a sailor," LCDR Bunnett
"He enlisted as a cadet stoker and
most of his training was done at the
Williamstown depot. Pop also became
an excellent shot and won a number of
prizes at the Williamstown Rifle Range.
When he was 18 he transferred to the
Naval Reserve, still a stoker, and at 19
was appointed as a midshipman. Two
years later he was commissioned as a
sub-lieutenant -- a very proud moment in
LCDR Bunnett said Hugh loved the
Navy and was disappointed when the
loss of his civilian job during the Great
Depression in the 1930s forced him to
resign his commission.
The Director of NPCMA, CAPT
Simon O'Brien, has allowed LCDR
Bunnett to keep his grandfather's certifi-
"I recently travelled to Melbourne
and arranged for Pop to have his photo
taken with his three certificates," LCDR
"My plan is to have them framed
together which I will display proudly at
By Deanna Nott
MEMORANDUMS of Understanding (MOUs)
to support reservists who are employed with the
NSW and WA police forces have been signed
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione
and WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan
joined with the Head of Defence's Cadet, Reserve
and Employer Support Division, MAJGEN Greg
Melick, to sign the MOUs at separate events.
MAJGEN Melick said the MOUs aimed to cre-
ate a mutually understood approach and better
management of a shared workforce.
"Reservists bring valuable life and work skills
back to their civilian workplaces and that includes
our nation's emergency services," MAJGEN Melick
Commissioner O'Callaghan said reservists and
police personnel shared similar skills, including
high level decision making and teamwork.
"Reservists can learn a range of skills that can
be transferred to their daily role in WA Police -- it's
a great foundation in terms of teamwork, discipline
and leadership," he said.
In NSW, the new ADF Reserve Service -- Policy
and Guidelines agreement, developed in conjunc-
tion with an MOU, streamlines the management of
military leave and employer support payments for
almost 180 NSW police officers currently serving in
the Navy, Army or Air Force Reserve.
Over the years thousands of current and former
NSW police officers have served in the ADF dur-
ing times of conflict and, most recently, in Solomon
Islands, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Commissioner Scipione said the officers were
not only serving their communities, but putting
their lives on the line for their country as well.
"I am happy to assist these officers any way I
can," he said.
"The police force recognises their commitment
to protecting their country as well as their com-
NSW and WA police
sign up with Defence
AMAZING FIND: CAPT Simon O'Brien (right) presents
Hugh Bunnett's commissioning certificate to his grand-
son, LCDR Mark Bunnett, who stumbled across the
document outside his directorate's tea room one day
while working at Russell Offices. INSET: Hugh Bunnett
poses with his certificate.
Photos: LSIS Paul McCallum and LCDR Mark Bunnett
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