Welcome to Naval Association of Australia

We seek to provide an active and rich future that requires determined members.
Being a member sustains the legacy of past service and sacrifice.

The NAA pursue four pillars that underpin our mission:

  • Care (welfare) for the diverse and crucial support of Navy and ex-Navy men and women,
  • Commemoration by maintaining the legacy of past service and sacrifice.
  • Navy Cadets by assisting youths to become better citizens through support to the ANC
  • Camaraderie to meet and socialise with like-minded Navy and ex-Navy men and women.

Our aim is to be a dynamic and contemporary organisation supporting the Navy fraternity in a wide range of different ways with Mateship at the core of our ethos.

The Naval Association of Australia (NAA) was established in 1920.   The NAA is the only national organisation with the sole purpose of looking after the interests of serving Navy and ex-Navy men and women.   We believe that

Once Navy, Always Navy

Every member is important to the NAA, the benefit to an individual may not be obvious, however, you will give Voice to Navy in the wider community. The four pillars underpinning our values point to the significance of membership. Compensation, rehabilitation and wellbeing entitlements provided to Navy and ex-Navy men and women today is the result of decades of dedicated work by NAA members.

The NAA is responsible for the HMAS Sydney II Virtual Memorial Website.

Keep an eye on the Notice Board for important information.

 

The NAVAL ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA
Patron:   His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC FTSE

 

A letter from the
National President David Manolas 
To The Members of the NAA.

17th October 2022

 

As I am sure you will be aware by now, I was able to represent the NAA at the Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in London on the 19th September 2022. This is an account of my six-day visit to London. A detailed account of the funeral service is being compiled for presentation at a later time.

It all began on Sunday 11th September 2022. While taking a cursory look at my emails I was surprised to see a message from the Buckingham Palace Private Secretary’s Office wherein I was ‘’asked to nominate one representative of the NAA to attend The Queen’s Funeral, which was to take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19th September at 11.00 am’’. The invitation was being extended to the NAA as Her Majesty had been our Patron-in-Chief since 1952.

The email went on to stipulate that if the invitation was to be accepted it was ‘on the basis that it was confirmed the representative would be attending’ i.e., travel and accommodation had to have been arranged. Further, I was asked to provide details of the representative and the address to which the formal Invitation was to be posted (i.e., it would need to be a UK address to be delivered in time), and were to be provided ‘as soon as possible and no later than 1200 noon on Monday 12th September’.

After initially assessing the cost and time constraints for booking flights and accommodation it did seem it would be beyond the reach of our NAA resources. But when my wife asked ‘why aren’t you going’, that changed everything! I decided I would accept the invitation and meet the costs and, fortunately, we were able to make all the necessary arrangements that afternoon.

Notwithstanding a delayed flight out of Canberra and challenges at the International Terminal at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne enroute to Perth for the non-stop flight to Heathrow, I arrived safely in London on the 16th September! I took the Airport train to Paddington Station and made my way to the hotel which, despite being an old dwelling with very few amenities, was only a 3-minute walk from the Station.

Over the next few days, I made several forays into London to work out the best route to ensure I would be at the right place and at the appointed time to attend the Service. Though I have been to London on a number of occasions and am so very fond of all that it has to offer, it was busier and more crowded than usual. This time I would find a maze of road closures and pedestrian barriers and vast numbers of Police and Service personnel amidst the hustle and bustle of this historic time.         On this visit I found myself repeatedly asking Railway Station Staff and ‘Bobbies’ to confirm what day it was; which train to catch; and, the whereabouts of landmarks and other details. My questions were more to reassure myself of where I was and what I was to do for though I was delighted my ‘body clock’ was still working I was not sure I had adjusted it correctly for UK day and time! A great deal had happened in such a short time and I was very conscious of the privilege and responsibility entrusted to myself, I certainly couldn’t afford to be adrift on the day.

Though I still had not received the Invitation I had spoken to ‘The Palace Staff’ on my second day in London and was assured it was ‘on its way’, so I continued with my excursions. I had decided I would catch the Tube to Westminster Station on the day of the funeral. Satisfied with my plan, I ventured off to see some of the sights and places I regularly visit whenever I am in London.

It would not surprise anyone that there would be a naval theme to my tour schedule. First, I made my way from Westminster Station past The Cenotaph, No 10 Downing Street, and the memorial to THE WOMEN OF WORLD WAR II and then on to Trafalgar Square. From there I made my way through Admiralty Arch, paying my respects at the statue of Captain Cook. Then it was on to St Paul’s Cathedral to pay my respects to Admiral Lord Nelson. There is a magnificent statue of him in the church and his tomb is in the crypt. The supremacy of British sea-power after his emphatic victory at Trafalgar in 1805, afforded the colony of New South Wales an unchallenged degree of security allowing for further development and the strengthening of its future prospects. Time then for a cruise down the Thames River to the Old Naval College at Greenwich where Captain Cook worked for some years putting together his account of his voyages, discoveries, and services to the Crown. There is a plaque in the floor of the Greenwich Naval College where Nelson’s body had been held in-state while preparations for his funeral and entombment were being made in St Pauls. I then went to the Greenwich Maritime Museum to see the Nelson and Captain Cook displays. Greenwich is also the location of the Tea Clipper the Cutty Sark, which had frequented our part of the world. On the return cruise I visited the Museum Ship HMS Belfast, moored in the Thames opposite the Tower of London. On returning to the City of London I went on to see the Commemorative Plaque in Westminster Abbey honouring Admiral Arthur Phillip RN wherein the words inscribed are: ‘First Governor of New South Wales & Founder of Modern Australia’. There is a great deal of our Australian national and naval history in this City.

Leading up to the funeral I joined the vast crowds making their way along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace and then on to Green Park to see the Floral Tributes to HM The Queen. The displays of flowers were arranged so that the members of the public could meander amongst the poignant expressions of love and appreciation for this most wonderful and endearing Monarch. Also found along The Mall are the beautiful statues of The Queen Mother and King George VI. In the British media some commentators were pondering what might be done to acknowledge and honour Queen Elizabeth II.

On my return to the hotel on the Saturday evening (18th Sep) I was relieved to receive the Invitation. It had arrived earlier that day by courier and its arrival was as much a relief for the hotel staff as I had been pestering them each day asking if any mail had arrived. On opening the package, I found that my plan for Monday would not work as Westminster Station would be closed. The ‘Joining Instruction’ provided details of recommended routes to arrive at the Accreditation Point in Victoria Tower Gardens which was within walking distance of Westminster Abbey. I saw then that a new plan requiring another reconnaissance run was necessary and, contrary to the advice provided before I left Australia, medals were to be worn. For whatever reason, I had decided to pack them anyway! That I had actually got to London despite nearly missing the connecting flights; that my luggage arrived on the same flight (I had carried my suit with me during the flight as a precaution wherein the worst-case scenario would require me to buy another pair of shoes); now with the Invitation document firmly in hand; and, having packed my medals, convinced me someone was watching over me!

On the day of the funeral my plan to travel via Lambeth North Tube Station and then make my way on foot to the Accreditation Area via Lambeth Bridge worked well. I reached the designated location early which resulted in my gaining access to the Abbey earlier than many others. The colour of my invitation indicated the area in which I could sit. On entering the Nave - Area within the Abbey I was able to find a seat that was to afford me a close-at-hand view of all the Heads of State; members of the Royal Family; the King and The Queen Consort; and the Funeral Procession. I was sitting in the second row from the centre aisle, I don’t think I could have been much better placed. Though I had no visibility of what was occurring in the Quire and High Alter area of the Abbey, I could hear everything that was taking place. It was a very moving service and there is much to remember and to cherish.

After the funeral I made my way back to Lambeth Bridge aiming to then walk on to the Lambeth North Tube Station for my return journey to Paddington. When I reached the bridge, I found it was temporarily closed to pedestrian traffic as it was a designated exit route for dispersed groupings of fast-moving SUVs carrying VIPs clear of the area, following the funeral. While I was waiting there amongst the ever-increasing crowd a Bobbie made his way towards me seeing I was holding the ‘Funeral Service Booklets’. On confirming I had been an invitee to the Service I was allowed to make my way across the bridge ahead of the mostly patient souls waiting behind the barriers. I didn’t look back as there had been some disgruntled comments amongst the penned-up pedestrians over the closure.

In the few days I still had before returning home I returned to the city and retraced some of my steps. I paid my respects at the Australian War Memorial in Hyde Park Corner and revisited Westminster Abbey. To mark the completion of my visit to London and to say farewell to this wonderful city I made my way again to Greenwich, this time to visit the Chapel at the College. Afterwards I had a quiet lunch in the Trafalgar Tavern which is located by the river just outside the College and is packed to the gunwales (pn: gunnels) with Nelson memorabilia.

Looking back over the whole experience there are many memories: pomp and circumstance as only the British can do; solemnity; kindness; a welcoming air amidst all that was taking place; and, the quiet and unassuming manner in which the Police and Military personnel went about their duties.

This will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences of a lifetime and truly a privilege and an honour. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to represent our Association on this most poignant and historic occasion.

 

Yours aye,

 

 

David Manolas
National President
Naval Association of Australia

 

From the Presidents Desk.

NAA National President - David Manolas

National Edition

Latest Edition - October 2022
(previous editions)
   


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