Home' Navy News : June 6th 2013 Contents 28 FEATURES
www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS June 6, 2013
HE RAN Band’s performances
at Gallipoli on Anzac Day have
helped the musicians tune up
for two bigger challenges – the
Centenary Concert and the International
Seventeen Navy musicians gained a
new perspective on the significance of the
band’s centenary, which will be marked
this month, when they performed for
10,000 Anzac Day pilgrims to mark the
98th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
Sombre moments exploring the battle-
fields also helped them reflect on the ser-
vice of the members who have contributed
to Fleet operations in both war and peace.
LEUT Cassandra Mohapp said the
approaching centenary of Anzac in 2015
made band members think about their own
category’s heritage as musicians and part-
time warfighters when warships went to
“When roaming the battlefields we
reflected on the many Army and Navy
buglers who also doubled as stretcher
bearers,” she said.
“They had the highest casualty rate
during the campaign because when
retrieving soldiers wounded by snipers
and shrapnel they always exposed them-
selves to the same fire.”
LEUT Mohapp said the role of mili-
tary buglers was the theme of the “Calls
from the Gallipoli Dawn” concert in
Ankara that involved RAN and Turkish
“The Ankara concert featured a
Turkish musician playing a WWI
bugle, which was played at Gallipoli by
Australian soldiers, and the WWI clas-
sic Un Pea d’Amour was played by RAN
Band’s ABMUSN Dayne Grindley,” she
“The Gallipoli performances and the
concert in Ankara have helped lift the
band to a new level of finesse for the
Centenary Concert and the International
Fleet Review in October.”
Since the Anzac Day performance, the
RAN Band has continued to rehearse long
and hard in preparation for the Centenary
Concert, which will be held on June 23
and feature more than 50 musicians.
The Director of Music – Navy, LCDR
Paul Cottier, said the concert would
feature music performed by the band
during the past 100 years.
“We look forward to sharing our
celebration with the Australian public
who have consistently supported and
encouraged us over our first 100 years’ of
service,” he said.
“The concert will also be a special
celebration for former and current RAN
Band members, reviving memories of
times past and looking ahead with pride
and confidence to our future.”
LEUT Mohapp said the highlight of
the year would be the IFR.
“The RAN Band Centenary is a major
milestone for us but the biggest performance
on our calendar is the IFR in October, when
we will be performing with the navy bands
of other countries,” she said.
Admission is free to the Centenary Concert at
the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in
Penrith, Sydney. For reservations call (02) 9359
2618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For
full details on the IFR visit www.navy.gov.au/ifr
A trip to Gallipoli has given musicians a chance
to reflect on the evolving role of the RAN Band in
a special year, Michael Brooke reports.
EIGHTEEN bandsmen under
Chief Bandmaster Joshua Ventry
were drafted aboard the flag-
ship of the new Australian Fleet,
HMAS Australia, in England, on
June 24, 1913.
Chief Bandmaster Ventry and
five of the bandsmen had been
recruited in Melbourne and trained
at the Royal Navy School of Music
alongside ex-Royal Marines and
ex-British Army bandsmen who had
successfully auditioned to join the
new band of the RAN.
The musicians were kitted up
in a modified Royal Marines Band
uniform as opposed to a traditional
sailor’s uniform – RAN musicians
would not wear sailor’s uniforms
As the first RAN Fleet sailed into
Sydney Harbour on October 4, 1913,
military music could be heard coming
from Australia by the thousands of
citizens lining the foreshores.
This was the first performance in
Australia by the RAN Band.
RAN bandsmen first saw action
when war was declared in 1914 and
Australia sailed with orders to seek
out the German Pacific Fleet.
After the war, a second band
was formed in 1927 for Flinders
Naval Depot, now HMAS Cerberus,
of permanent musicians assisted by
volunteers from other branches.
By the late 1930s, in addition to
bands in shore establishments, there
was a rapid expansion in musician
recruitment with five bands serving
at sea in the cruisers HMA Ships
Australia, Canberra, Hobart, Perth
and Sydney II.
During WWII, musicians served
in all theatres of war. To supplement
their duties, they worked as gun
crews, shell bearers in magazines,
in transmitting stations, as first aid
parties and as lookouts.
However, cruisers were prime
enemy targets and the band category
suffered the highest casualty rate pro
rata with 19 fatalities, including two
who died as prisoners of war after
surviving the sinking of Perth.
In 1953, musicians saw action
aboard carrier Sydney III in Korean
waters. Band members were also
deployed in Melbourne II during the
Malayan Emergency in the late 1950s
and 172 musicians served aboard
Sydney III and Melbourne II during
the Vietnam conflict.
More recently, musicians have
deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan,
Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
After the decommissioning of
Melbourne II in 1982, the Fleet
Band was transferred to Navy’s new
flagship, HMAS Stalwart.
However, on Stalwart’s
decommissioning in 1990 there was
no ship large enough to house the
Fleet Band, so it amalgamated with
the Naval Support Command Band
HMAS Penguin to become the RAN
Band – Sydney and relocated to a
purpose-built facility at Waterloo in
The RAN Band continues to
support the Fleet by embarking
small music ensembles on board
major fleet units during certain
deployments, the latest being a
five-piece ensemble aboard HMAS
Parramatta for her South-East Asian
deployment earlier this year.
After WWII, the RAN School
of Music at Flinders Naval Depot
opened on September 3, 1951, to
recruit and train junior musicians
in an effort to fill depleted category
By the early 1980s, it was decided
that a combined Defence Force
School of Music would be built at
Simpson Barracks in Melbourne to
accommodate Defence Band training.
The school’s opening in 1984 also
saw Australian Defence Band officers
trained in Australia instead of the UK.
In 1985, band recruitment was
opened to women and Navy’s first
female musician graduated.
Navy ceased training recruit
musicians in 1991 and introduced
the Direct Entry Musicians Scheme.
In 1993, the Direct Entry Degree
Musicians Scheme was introduced
to allow musicians with a university
performance degree to be promoted
to able seaman on completion of
Today, the RAN Band is
structured around a Directorate of
Music, two permanent detachments
located at HMA Ships Kuttabul
and Cerberus and four reserve
detachments located in Perth,
Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane.
A long and proud history
PROUD MOMENT: LEUT Cassandra Mohapp leads the RAN Band in the national anthems of Turkey
and Australia at the Australian Memorial Service in Gallipoli.
Photos: CPL Ray Vance
COMBINED EFFORT: Above, Music Director
Christopher Latham conducts Elana Kats-Chernin’s
The Landing with the Gallipoli Symphony. Left,
ABMUSN Dayne Grindley plays Graeme Koehne’s
The Voyage with the Gallipoli Chamber Orchestra
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