Presidents Page



One of the most important tasks for your National Executive (NX) is to facilitate the flow of information pertinent to our existence as an Ex-Service
Organisation and the wellbeing of our members. I am sure all would agree we are very proud of the high-quality Quarterly White Ensign Magazine (WEM), for which we extend our gratitude to Russel Pettis the Editor and Darren Rush the Graphic Artist.
I am delighted to advise that we now have another such periodical to offer our membership. For some time, Peter Cooke-Russell has provided the ACT Section with a monthly newsletter containing pertinent and timely advice on Veteran and Service matters taken from Government sources and he adds to that, some topical nautical articles making the Bosun’s Call a well-read and much enjoyed publication. We have seen this newsletter expand now into the National Bosun’s Call (NBC), which has been made available on the NAA website and to Sections for their information and subsequent promulgation. For all within the Sections involved in the process of introducing the NBC to a wider audience, we extend our appreciation and congratulate you on a task well done. Clearly with all that occurs within Veteran Affairs and Government there is the need to get that information out to our Association in as timely a manner as is possible, hence the benefit of having a monthly national newsletter at-hand. Making this possible is Peter’s unrelenting diligence in monitoring such developments, and for that we are very much indebted.
In order to see the distribution of the NBC widen as far as is possible and to alleviate the need for retransmission at the Section level, we have reached out to the Section Presidents to seek their concurrence in this endeavour and in that, may I express my sincere appreciation for their enthusiasm and support. 
As we see in the distribution of the WEM, the final product is passed to Glenn Williams, our National Website Manager, for distribution electronically. For the NBC, this will also be done via the existing WEM electronic mailing list, coupled with other mailing addresses overseen by Glenn. Our members will receive email advice of the NBC availability, therein will be a LINK to the NBC Newsletter.  The first ‘nationally distributed’ NBC will be the August 2021 Edition which will be on its way shortly. We will now work on a process by which we can seek and then incorporate ‘newsworthy articles and images’ from within Sections to be shared via the NBC. Remembering this is a newsletter for all members, we will take full account of advice from Sections as to how we can make the NBC available to those who do not rely on emails for maintaining contact and participation in NAA activities.  
Our thanks to all who have made this possible, how fortunate we are to have access to such high quality NAA information periodicals.

Yours aye,

David Manolas
National President
Naval Association of Australia


NAA National President - David Manolas

Following the sad passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip recently, a Life Member of the Naval Association of Australia, the National President has sent a letter of condolence, on behalf of the NAA ,to Her Majesty. Both the President's letter and any response from Buckingham Palace will remain confidential, as required by regal protocol.A copy of these documents will be passed to the National Secretary for retention in the NAA archives.

Please be advised; a Letter of Condolence from the Naval Association of Australia (NAA), was dispatched (via Australia Post – Priority Mail) to Buckingham Palace today, 15 April 2021, on the occasion of the passing of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The protocol in such instances is that the contents of the letter and any reply, are deemed to be Private Correspondence and are not made public. Thank you for your understanding in this regard.

The Duke had been a Life Member of the NAA since 1956 and we have been very proud of his connection with our Association.

Dear Members,

Please see attached copy of the NAA Submission to Honours and Awards wherein advice was provided that ''the prevailing view within The Naval Association of Australia (NAA), is that members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who are injured, wounded, or killed in or as a result of service, or their families, should receive an Australian honour or award''. In supporting this initiative, we prepared two options for the Tribunal to consider.

  • Our preferred option; is the award of a Device to be attached to the medal ribbon of either a 'specific' Operational Service Medal or the Australian Defence Medal (ADM). We propose there be two devices; a Poppy for the loss of a life and a Sprig of Golden Wattle for having sustained a physical or psychological wound or injury, whether it be in operational or non-operational service.
  • The alternate option; is for a Medal to be instituted to recognise and commemorate the loss of life, sustaining a physical or psychological wound or injury, whether it be in operational or non-operational service.

The Devices proposed could perhaps be attached to this medal ribbon.

Receipt of the NAA Submission has been acknowledged and now we await the outcome of the Tribunal's deliberations. I thank you all for your assistance in this matter and, I very much appreciate that there are supportive and contrary views within the NAA and the wider Ex-Service Organisations, and within the wider Australian Community, on this matter. Hopefully, the outcome will provide an appropriate form and degree of recognition for those whose loved-one lost their life, and for those who have lost a component of their life, through their service in the ADF. Whatever our individual feeling on this matter, we have had the opportunity to participate in this very important and meaningful discussion and for the support and the way in which views have been expressed, I thank you all. 

For your information: six Sections submitted their response to myself as to whether there ought to be a form of recognition, wherein all six Sections were in favour; of the Preferences presented for consideration, not all Sections nominated a first and second preference; five Sections identified the 'Device Option for a death, wounding or injury during Operational or Non-Operational service', as their first preference with three opting for the 'Medal for a death, wounding or injury during Operational or Non-Operational service', as their second preference. One Section chose the same Medal for their first preference and the Device as their second preference. The images provided at the attachment are to provide some insight as to the 'concept' and not to be seen as being prescriptive in any way.

Yours aye,
David Manolas
National President
Naval Association of Australia

Read the full submission here

‘All aboard, let go forrard - let go aft,
let us get underway for 2021’!

With the Christmas and New Year festive season astern of us, we can each reflect on those aspects that brought us great joy and that which we wish had been possible. There are still aspects of life we wish were different but there are developments that in themselves, give us cause to be optimistic. So, let us do that and may we all enjoy each other’s company as our beloved Association gets underway for 2021.

Firstly, let me say that if I am to fulfil my duties and responsibilities as the National President (NP) of our Association, you will find me seeking advice and assistance from each member of the National Executive (NX) and the members of the National Council (NC), in addressing those issues arising out of our collective or individual activities. I am pleased to report that your National Executive have been busy examining a number of issues which we first need to understand and then determine what changes may be necessary to get back on course. We are all aware that there are issues with the means by which membership applications are received and processed and, NAA banking arrangements. Both matters are very much under active consideration and we are aiming to be able to present the NC with our recommendations within the near future.

We are embarking on a new concept where our three National Vice-Presidents (NVP) will have stewardship of a specific area of responsibility; providing advice and recommendations to the NP and the NX. Details of the respective responsibilities of our NVPs will be provided in due course.

There will be more to share with you shortly but for now, please be assured ‘we are back on deck and getting underway’.

Wishing you all the very best for 2021,

Yours aye,
David Manolas
National President
29 January 2021

Christmas 2020, A Message from the NAA President 

On behalf of the National Executive, I wish you all a very merry and safe Christmas and New Year, and we very much hope that during this time you will all be able to make contact or be with those you hold so dear, your family and friends, those you love and cherish. We have conveyed our festive season well wishes to CN for all serving naval personnel and, Navy have passed on their Christmas and New Year well wishes for our members.

In looking back over all that has come our way this year, it has certainly not been as safe and as rewarding as we would have wished for when we last looked upon a festive season. Tragically some have had to face fire and destruction, injury and loss of life, possessions and livelihood. More anguish came our way when we had to confront the invisible but nonetheless life-threatening COVID-19 and tragically for some, we saw the loss of life. Following on from the effects of a prolonged drought our spirits were lifted with the coming rain but here too we are seeing losses as the heavy falls in some areas, cause floods and coastal storms wreak havoc.

Amongst all that was happening arounds us there have been several highlights for the NAA, particularly during the latter part of the year. We were so very much encouraged when we saw Sections and Sub-Sections bunkering down where necessary or perhaps ‘shortening sail’ to weather the COVID-19 storms, but through it all we maintained our presence in the wider veteran’s and naval communities. We can all be proud of how we continued to provide that which the NAA does so well; to provide ‘naval fellowship’. Thank you!

In this very challenging year, we found the means and opportunity to celebrate our Centenary in as meaningful and prominent manner possible. We conducted our NAA Centenary Wreath Laying Service at the Australian War Memorial in the Nation’s Capital on Friday, 20 November 2020. There we acknowledged and saluted past and present members of the Navy and all those of our Association. In acknowledging those whose grave is ‘the cruel sea’, we also spoke of the naval veteran. Those who returned home from their service and who lay at rest in places other than the sea, who bear ‘wounds seen and unseen’ and, whose ‘deeds are known and unknown’. We know there were many other events at a local level in many locations across Australia where members gathered to acknowledge the part, we and our predecessors, have played in the continuation of that noble endeavour borne of the meeting of shipmates in Melbourne in 1920; the pursuit of naval fellowship wherever and however possible.

Another most welcomed event was the award of the VC to Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean; there was nothing ‘ordinary’ about this extraordinary example of bravery by this very young and in-experienced Junior Sailor in HMAS Armidale during WWII. In our own way and very much through the admirable leadership and penmanship of the then NAA NP Graham Savage, and our Secretary Russell Pettis, we saw a letter from our Association forwarded to the Prime Minister detailing our strident commitment in urging the Government to re-assess their earlier decision not to recommend this award. While we can but surmise if and to what extent our actions may have influenced the decision to establish a special committee to review the matter, we can all be justifiably proud that the NAA took the action we did. It was with immense pride that I represented our membership at the first Last Post Ceremony for Teddy Sheean VC at the AWM on 01 Dec 2020. In the company of two Shipmates from the ACT Section (again COVID-19 limits on numbers were at play), we met some of Teddy’s Family and Dr Brendon Nelson, the Chairman of the Special Review Committee which recommended the award.

We will shortly see a special issue of the White Ensign Magazine which will feature the first VC for a member of the Navy.  This edition will surely be a ‘collector’s item’ and we express our congratulations to Russell Pettis the WEM Editor, Darren Rush the WEM Graphic Artist, and all those who have contributed to the edition.

Though the NX have not yet had the opportunity to meet face-to-face, we have been busy developing strategies to meet the challenging and changing times at hand; further advice will be provided in due course. We are all looking forward to getting underway again in the New Year, wherein it is our earnest hope we will all have a ‘fair wind and a following sea’! Again, our very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year and, our congratulations to you all on the way in which we have celebrated the Centenary of the Naval Association of Australia!

Yours aye,
David Manolas
National President
16 December 2020


Letter to Chirf of Navy wishing the Navy a
Merry Christmas for 2020 and Happy New Year


NAA Centenary 20 November 2020 - Wreath Laying Service

National President's – Address

Before us we see: A Sailor’s Cap, symbolic of our Members, those serving in the Navy and Naval Veterans; the Counterpane is symbolic of those who are now at rest; and, the Bosun’s Call symbolises the heralding of a New Day.

We are gathered here today to celebrate the Centenary of the Naval Association of Australia.

We salute all those who have served our nation as members of the Royal Australian Navy; those whose grave is the cruel sea, wherein the Naval Ode speaks so emotively of their resting place in the depths of the oceans beyond our reach. We salute those who, on returning from war service at sea and ashore, found their lives impacted so harshly by the effects of war. To them all, we are much indebted for the price paid for our freedom.

Our Association exists in order to safeguard their legacy and to minister to the wellbeing and recognition of the naval veteran; those who have completed their naval service and those still serving.

At the passing of one of our members we offer an

‘Ode to The Naval Veteran’:

In Naval service their duty done
At sea and ashore in peace and in war
Wounds seen and unseen, deeds known and unknown
Now at rest we pray, the memories with us stay


Within the Naval Association of Australia, we are told that a chance meeting of former WWI shipmates in Melbourne in 1920, led to the establishment of an Association that would evolve into the only national organisation solely committed to watching over the interests of Serving and ex-Navy men and women here in Australia. We can look to the Royal Naval Association, with whom we share the motto: ‘Once Navy, Always Navy’, the Royal New Zealand Naval Association and the Association of the United States Navy, to see comparable examples of like-minded shipmates with whom we share an ethos borne ‘in service at sea and ashore, in peace and in war’.

Our 2,860 members in 76 Sections and Sub-Sections across Australia, afford each other companionship and support through naval fellowship. We gather together freely: each of equal standing; all with a story to tell of life in the Navy and beyond; a desire to watch out for our members and their loved ones; and, a generosity of spirit welcoming all who wish to join us. Our members actively participate in the full range of national and naval commemorative services where we serve to bear witness and to act as a rallying point for non-aligned naval veterans. We are the custodians of a wealth of naval experience and historic narrative, numerous collections of naval memorabilia and are entrusted with the oversight of a number of Memorials and Commemorative Services. As staunch supporters of our Parent Service, we advocated for an Annual Navy Day. The aim being to provide the wider community with an appreciation of the role and importance of a strong and capable Navy. The first Australian Navy Day was conducted in October, 1966.

Our membership actively contributes to the preservation of the Australian Defence Force legacy and the wellbeing of serving and ex-service personnel, through membership of other groups and associations such as the: Naval Historical Society; Navy League; numerous ship associations; the WRANS and Naval Women’s Association; the RSL; Vietnam Veterans Associations; and, a number of Veteran Support Organisations.  We are active participants in ex-service consultative and advocacy groups; a foundation member of The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations; and a participant in the Ex-Service Organisation Round Table Forum. Looking to the wellbeing of future generations, our Australian Navy Cadet Liaison Officers are forging closer ties with Cadet Units nation-wide through sponsorship and other support initiatives.

We are proud of these and other achievements wherein:

  the Naval Association was successful in seeking parity for repatriation benefits and entitlements awarded to their Army and Air Force colleagues who had served in Malaya as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve during 1955 – 1960;
  we were successful in having the names of the two Sailors killed while serving in RAN Ships in Malayan waters and the four Sailors who lost their lives in WWII Mine Clearance Operations off the Australian Coast in 1947, inscribed on the Honour Roll in the AWM;
  our efforts were successful in having the risks of asbestosis recognised as being a long-term health risk to sailors living and working beyond the confines of ships’ machinery spaces, as asbestos lagging material was used throughout those ships of an earlier era;
  efforts by members of our Association in demonstrating the potential exposure to dioxins through potable water produced by ship’s evaporative distillation during the Vietnam War, was of immeasurable benefit to many of the 9,800 RAN personnel who had served in the Vietnam Logistic Support and Escort role and have had to deal with the unforeseen adverse health outcomes; and,
  we, along with so many others, were of firm resolve as to the awarding of a Victoria Cross to Teddy Sheean. This award earned in time of war will soon join the George Cross awarded to Chief Petty Officer Jonathon Rogers DSM, the Coxswain in HMAS Voyager, when the Navy suffered its largest loss of life in peace time. Acts of  exemplary courage whilst in naval service ‘in peace and in war’.


At a time when we again need to recognise that so many of our Service men and women are bearing wounds that are not necessarily readily apparent, we are encouraged to see that treatment for life threatening conditions such as Cancer and PTSD are now more readily available.

In our veteran’s wellbeing endeavours, we are so admirably supported by those who step up to act as advocates. They are worthy of our wholehearted admiration and boundless gratitude as it is through their efforts that many veterans have achieved life-changing and life-giving support. We are blessed in our nation to have the means and inherent mechanisms to provide such support to our veterans, and for that we give thanks, while remaining ever vigilant in watching over its application.

May I take this opportunity to express my appreciation and admiration of all that our Members and Office Bearers have done during their ‘Posting’ to the Association. As a core element of the Australian Navy Family you have all shown your commitment to evolve and adapt, for here we are at our Centenary, and still making every effort to fulfil our mission. It is through your resolve to ‘turn-to’ and ‘to stand your watch’ that we are still fulfilling this vital role in the wider Naval Community. It is with heartfelt regret that we cannot gather here in the numbers we would wish, but we can all proudly share in our ongoing story and in celebrating our achievements. We can look ahead with optimism and a renewed determination as we emerge from this ‘make and mend’ period, well placed to sail on onwards.

From your Leadership Team, a Bravo Zulu to you all!


David Manolas
National President
Naval Association of Australia
20 November 2020


NAA Centenary Event Up-Date by the
National President of the NAA

Introductory Message.

The circumstances at hand do not allow me to meet you all face to face as I want so much to do, so with your consent may I provide this introductory statement.
I express my thanks to all the members of the Naval Association for affording me this opportunity and in return I pledge to fulfil my responsibilities to you to the best on my ability and very much hope that you will assist me wherever possible for the safeguard and progress of our Association.
It was not until I was asked to consider nominating for the position of National President that I gave this opportunity due consideration. I come to this appointment, one that is steeped in representational privilege and responsibility at a national level, with no entrenched views or opinions or an agenda of my own, nor a vision of my own personal design.
Rather, I have an unwavering belief that the Association is for and of us all, and that naval fellowship is our inherent strength and most valued asset. For myself, I have always striven to adhere to the adage that as a member of the Naval Association I am duty bound to promote and protect but in no way seek self-promotion.
The way ahead has not always been as clear as we would hope. Sometimes that has been due to factors we cannot influence or control, but there are opportunities to have considerable impact on what it is we can do for each other, the Navy and the wider naval community. Our former President, Graham Savage and the National Secretary have been exemplary in making it clear to the Prime Minister that we would actively campaign for the award of a VC to Teddy Sheean, and their success in having the White Ensign Magazine made available to all within the Navy. Their efforts light up the way ahead. Hopefully through our Centenary Celebrations, we can build upon their work and strengthen our Association for the betterment of each and every member. 
My first task is to thank Graham and Russell for their outstanding contribution in what has been a troubled time. Be assured, that in consenting to my nomination, knowing that Russell would still be there as our National Secretary and that Graham would be on hand to offer guidance and support, has given me much encouragement and reassurance.
Graham in your role as President, you have always made me feel so very welcome and given so freely of your time and companionship. I have so very much appreciated your wise counsel and that you have always treated me with courtesy and in good humour. At a time when we needed a steady hand at the helm you stepped forward selflessly with no regard for self-promotion or accolades but an inherent sense of duty and love for this Association. Standing steadfastly by your side, Russell took on the responsibilities of the ‘Navigator’ and together you brought us through that storm and now it is time for our much loved and highly respected ‘skipper’ to complete his watch. Rest easy in the knowledge that you served us well and that the ship is on a steady course, the watch has been handed over and all are at their allotted stations ready to proceed.
Bravo Zulu Graham on a job well done. 
To you all at this our conference; may I congratulate you on your appointments and I look forward to getting to know you and to making whatever contribution I can to the overall success of our joint endeavours. I also wish to express my admiration and appreciation to the incumbent office bearers for all that you are doing on behalf of the members within every Section and Sub-section. It is my sincere hope that we will all enjoy working together and therein benefit from our collective knowledge and experience and that, in naval fellowship, we will make a meaningful contribution to the wellbeing of each other, our members, and the Association to which we are so proudly dedicated. It is my earnest wish when circumstances allow, to visit and meet as many of our members in their Sections and Sub-sections as is possible.
In closing, may I extend my personal thanks to my Shipmates in the ACT Section for their support and forbearance as I embark on this new adventure. I also sincerely thank all within the Association who have afforded me their support and encouragement. For that and your friendship, I am truly appreciative.
Until, ‘we meet again don’t know where don’t know when’, may I wish you all ‘a fair wind and a following sea’,

Yours Aye,
David Manolas
National President
Naval Association of Australia
19 September 2020