Home' Navy News : July 21st 2011 Contents Australian Defence Credit Union Limited ABN 48 087 649 741 AFSL/ACL No. 237 988
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Congratulations, 100 years of service
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A 'Dinkum' icon
WITHIN the annals of the
Royal Australian Navy
are many stories of men
and women who have
proudly served their country at sea,
ashore and in the air.
As with any microcosm of society,
the Navy has produced its fair share of
heroes. But it has also been home to
a number of notorious and well-loved
rogues, particularly in its early history.
One such individual was AB John
Almost 100 years ago, Minogue
joined the RAN at age 17, on
December 11, 1911.
The address reflected on
his Service Record is simply
'Racecourse', Kyneton, Victoria,
which may have influenced some of
his later pursuits.
Employed as a warrant officers'
steward, young 'Dinkum', as he was
known by his ship-mates, served
firstly in the destroyer Warrego before
joining the cruiser HMAS Melbourne.
It was in Melbourne that his entre-
preneurial abilities came to the fore.
There he formed a musical ensem-
ble known as Dinkum Minogue's
Hobo Band which immediately gained
popularity, not only in Melbourne,
but in other ships of the fledgling
Australian fleet, which it regularly
It was also in Melbourne, that
Dinkum developed a flair for
other pastimes and a shipmate of
Minogue's, Lofty Batt, records in
his memoirs, Pioneers of the Royal
Australian Navy, that he was soon a
principal shareholder and proprietor
of a lucrative crown and anchor
With a monopoly over the sea-
men's mess, and with a percentage of
his takings ensuring that his operation
proceeded unhindered by the ship's
police, business was good.
His luck, however, did not last, and
one night during evening rounds he
heard the 'still' of the bosun's call, all
Left with few options he shoved
his takings into his hammock then sol-
emnly got down on his knees, using
the gambling board to kneel on, and
began reciting what little he knew of
the Lord's Prayer.
His devotion so impressed the
Officer of the Watch that he could
not decide whether to say 'amen' or
to leave the devout worshipper alone
-- that was until he noticed the uncom-
mon prayer mat.
This very recent convert to
Christianity should have been a bar-
rister, for when he fronted the table in
the flagship Australia, he told CAPT
Stephen Radcliffe that he had seen the
folly of his ways when he was ashore
in Cape Town, and had joined the
The Army, however, did not
save him from 'losing a badge'
which, of course, resulted in a fine
and the loss of his 'legitimate'
Today, Minogue is remembered
as one of those colourful characters
who, during the RAN's formative
years, provided entertainment,
humour and merriment at a time
when creature comforts were few
and discipline was harsh.
JOHN PERRYMAN is senior naval historical
officer at the RAN Sea Power Centre.
AB John Minogue, known as 'Dinkum', didn't always play by the rules,
but he remains a memorable Navy character"
THE ENTERTAINER: AB John 'Dinkum' Minogue clowns around and, inset,
with his hobo band.
Photos courtesy of John Perryman
-- ABBM Shane Pepperall
July 21, 2011
100th anniversary special
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