Presidents Page

David Manolas NAA National President 

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