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November 7, 2013 www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS
ABIS Kathy Tuddenham
"IT'S days like this that give us the opportunity to
pause for a while, remember the past and celebrate
the friendships founded on the shared experience of
what is a quite unusual career choice, even by today's
So said CAPT Michele Miller during her address at
the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS)
memorial service at HMAS Harman on October 19.
CAPT Miller, Chief of Staff at Navy Strategic
Command in Canberra, was guest speaker at the event
which was attended by former and current members of
the Navy, the Royal Australian Naval Nursing Service
(RANNS) as well as the WRANS.
"I still regard with some amazement that it was only
in 1969 that we allowed women to stay in the WRANS
if they married and 1974 that we stopped automatically
discharging women from the WRANS when they fell
pregnant," CAPT Miller said.
It was at Harman that the WRANS began their ser-
vice and cemented their place in history 72 years ago.
At that time only non-combat roles were available, such
as the first telegraphists who served at the RAN wire-
less/transmitting station at Harman in the early 1940s.
CAPT Miller said women now served in almost
every area of day-to-day operations, both ashore and at
sea.She said many had seen active service overseas,
and female officers now commanded shore establish-
ments and RAN ships -- a fantastic achievement when
it was only in 1985 that the decision was made to
allow women to serve at sea in permanent billets, not
just training billets.
CAPT Miller completed her address by musing that
perhaps in the future her own daughter may consider
joining the RAN, and could look forward to a career
with broad prospects, flexibility and personal enhance-
ment, and "ultimately a life of service and valuable
camaraderie founded upon a path worn smooth and
firm by the thousands of steps made by women before
her who got in there and did the job every day."
ABIS Kathy Tuddenham
LCDR Annette Nelson launched her third
book on the history of HMAS Harman on
The book, HMAS Harman 1943-2013 -- A
history of HMAS Harman and its people was
launched after the memorial service for the
LCDR Nelson said focusing on the human
and personal aspects was an important part of
"I love reading the stories about real people
doing their jobs," LCDR Nelson said.
"This project has given me that opportuni-
ty; it really brought Harman alive for me and I
hope it does that for other people."
Many of those present at the service con-
tributed to the stories within the book.
"Out of the blue I get emails and letters
with stories from the past and I never know
what they will contain -- many of the older ex-
members of the RAN and WRANS send me
their photos as their family aren't interested,"
LCDR Nelson said.
"I pass these to the Seapower Centre to add
to their collection."
LCDR Nelson wrote her first book in 1993
for the 50th anniversary of Harman.
In 2003, she published her second book
commemorating Harman's 70th anniversary.
LCDR Nelson believes it is important to
record the history of ships and establishments.
"Unless the history is recorded in a durable
way, it will be forgotten," LCDR Nelson said.
Copies of the book can be requested at no cost from
CO's Secretary PO Andrea Kerr at Harman at andrea.
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning (02)6266 6602
NAVY wives held a church service
at the Garden Island chapel to cel-
ebrate the role families have played
in supporting naval personnel over
the past century.
To coincide with the
International Fleet Review cel-
ebrations the service was held on
September 22 with Cecile Hunt,
wife of RADM Tony Hunt (retd),
addressing the congregation.
She said the service was held to
honour the men and women who
had served in the RAN over the past
102 years and their families.
"All naval families have to meet
the challenges of long separations
and duty," Mrs Hunt said.
"Their support and strength
helped design the fabric of Navy
life -- with dedication, loyalty, hard
work and grit."
She said the Navy Wives
Association was formed in 1964 in
Canberra and over the years had
played a big part in supporting
"In the early 70s the association
provided social services, meetings
with chaplains and advisers and
practical help when relocating to
new areas," she said.
"Navy wives groups formed in
most states and provided an impor-
tant social presence and much-need-
ed assistance when serving members
were posted away or at sea."
In the late 80s these groups dis-
banded with the introduction of
family liaison officers, a wide range
of social services and the increasing
numbers of wives in paid employment.
She said the bonds developed
over the years were strong despite
the dwindling numbers.
"We grew up together, cried
together during WWI, WWII,
Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf,
Afghanistan and other areas of
operations, after Voyager and
Evans, and when friends died in ser-
vice and training," she said.
"We nursed each other when
ill, we drove each other to hospital
when babies were due and cared for
those at home.
"We were -- and still are -- part
of the Navy's great family and we
salute you all!"
A salute to
personnel Celebrating WRANS
Trilogy of history for HMAS Harman
TIME FOR REFLECTION: CAPT Michele Miller addresses the WRANS memorial service at
Photos: ABIS Kathy Tuddenham
JOB DONE: CDRE Peter Laver congratulates LCDR
Annette Nelson on her third book on HMAS Harman.
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