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November 7, 2013 www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS
SBLT Omar Alothman
"HEALTHY body, healthy mind"
was the theme of this year's
Mental Health Day and the crew
of HMAS Ballarat took the theme
seriously with a break from rou-
tine on October 15.
A punishing series of physical
sessions combined with some res-
pite from the daily routine enabled
the ship's company to reflect on
how each person could look after
themselves on deployment.
CO Ballarat CMDR Matthew
Doornbos said it was an important
day for the crew.
"Although most of the day was
lighthearted it allowed us to rein-
force to the crew the importance
of employing strategies such as
physical fitness and humour for
maintaining their mental health,"
CMDR Doornbos said.
"As part of a seagoing ship
we spend a lot of time away from
home, often undertaking stress-
ful and at times quite confronting
"The importance of us as a
crew and as individuals proactively
managing our mental health can-
not be underestimated."
A day out of routine was grant-
ed to all ship's company beginning
with a late start, with most crew
members getting an extra 45 min-
utes of sleep.
Crew members were encour-
aged to wear bright colours
throughout the day.
CHAP Rendall Walker
addressed personnel over morn-
ing and afternoon tea, promoting
methods of coping with stressful
periods and strategies for person-
nel to maintain their mental health
and general wellbeing.
Members also took part in the
Mental Health Olympics, orches-
trated by ABCSO Ryan Green,
which consisted of a series of pun-
Teams and individuals were
pitted against the clock to see
who could complete the most cir-
A great deal of fun was had by
all and although there were some
individual winners most agreed
it was a very effective distraction
from the normal routines at sea.
The pace of the day then
slowed down with the Ballarat
golf driving range opening for
The longest drive was by SBLT
Troy Boswell with a 230m mon-
ster, although there was debate
about how this was calculated.
The crew then enjoyed some
trivia from the ship's quizmas-
ter and amateur thespian, LEUT
Richard Farrelly, before settling
down to enjoy a Silver Screen
Ballarat is on a four-month
South-East Asian and Operation
Healthy day for all
GOOD CAUSE: (L-R) POMED Rebecka Clark, ABML-P Matthew Murphy and LEUT John Cawley dress in bright colours (above left)
while crew participate in the Mental Health Olympics (above right) for Mental Health Day on board HMAS Ballarat.Photo: LEUT Sarah Eddes
awareness is key
CPL Aaron Curran
A NEW course is being offered on Campus to
increase cultural awareness across Defence.
The Indigenous Cultural Awareness course,
developed in consultation with Defence Learning
Branch, aims to educate ADF members about the
history and culture of Australia's Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people.
Beginning at recruit, initial employment and
officer training, the course will be complemented
by periodic education throughout members' careers.
MAJ Merv Simmons, of the Directorate of
Indigenous Affairs, said although it was not a
compulsory course, the directorate would like to
see as many Defence personnel as possible com-
plete the 40-minute course by the end of the year.
"The CDF and Service Chiefs have endorsed
this course," MAJ Simmons said.
"We now need all commanders to support us in
this intent to get their members to do the course,"
MAJ Simmons said the course was open to
uniformed members as well as the wider Defence
"Increasing cultural awareness in the Defence
community is central to ensuring our indigenous
personnel are treated with respect and retained as
valuable members," he said.
"We need to better educate those of us who
don't well understand the history and culture of
the original Australians and this is the first step in
that learning process."
MAJ Simmons said the CDF and Service
Chiefs were committed to changing percep-
tions and deepening people's understanding and
appreciation of indigenous cultural issues, as well
as acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander contributions to military traditions and
The Indigenous Cultural Awareness course can be found
at the Campus website at www.campus.defence.gov.au
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