; SHaS Chap 08 _17
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SHaS Chap 08 _17


  • pg 1
                 SICAL RAINING
               HYSIC                 PORT

The School of Physical Training did not commence in the Royal Australian Navy until 1923, but
there is earlier mention of Physical Training Instructors on board old ships such as HMAS
ENCOUNTER and two Physical Training Instructors were sent out from the Royal Navy to join
the staff of the Royal Australian Naval College at Geelong when that college opened in 1913.
As far as can be ascertained, the RAN School of Physical Training was the first institution to
conduct formal physical training in Australia. The method adopted was the Swedish Method,
used by the Royal Navy since 1902. The method aimed at - ‘harmonious development through
progressive series of rather regimented exercise tables which were graded for age groups. The
first class passed out in 1924 and one of that class was Leading Seaman Alan Saltmarsh who
was later to become the first Australian Navy PT sailor to be promoted to officer rank and later
to be Officer in charge of the PT School. Alan died in 1983.
In HMAS NIRIMBA the story of sport, were it detailed in full, would fill a large volume and this
would be enhanced and enlarged by the colourful stories of both the physical trainers who have
served here and of the many hundreds of young ‘iron men’ of sport who have passed this way.
The personal stories of those people are legion. We can only touch on same of the highlights of
this story of achievement in sport in HMAS NIRIMBA over the quarter century of her life.
From the start in 1956, Captain F L George, the first Connnanding Officer of HMAS NIRIMBA,
no mean athlete himself, injected heavy emphasis on sport and physical training of apprentices
in HMAS NIRIMBA. Sport and physical training were written into the curriculum as an important
part of the training syllabus for apprentices. This situation remains today.
The Physical Training Branch in HMAS NIRIMBA, in addition to conducting classes for all
apprentices and organising inter-part and outside sport is responsible for expedition-adventure
training for apprentices.
The current gymnasium, home of the NIRIMBA Physical Trainers and headquarters of sports
organisation in NIRIMBA was formerly the drill hail and cinema. The first apprentices were
instructed in physical training indoors in one of the wartime aircraft hangars. In 1974, when the
Training Administration Building (Facility 12) was completed, the cinema was moved to the
new cinema in the Training Administration Building and the old drill hall became exclusively
the gymnasium.
The first Physical Training Instructor posted to HMAS NIRIMBA was Petty Officer PTI ‘Snowy’
Walker who was later augmented by Petty Officers PTI ‘Buck’ Rodgers and ‘Sandy’ Sadler .
‘Buck’ Rodgers was later to become one of the first Warrant Officers PTI in the Royal Australian
From the beginning, sport in HMAS NIRIMBA was organised on the Divisional or ‘House’
system and that configuration exists today. Apprentices have continued to take part since 1956
in part of ship sports in the codes of Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, Hockey, Cricket, Athletics, Australian
Football, Squash, Boxing, Basketball, Water Polo, Swimming and Badminton.
In addition, there has been a place in HMAS NIRIMBA for trainees to take part in the other
recreational sporting activities of Archery, Pistol Shooting, Rifle and Shotgun Shooting, Water
Skiing, Canoeing, Gliding, Orienteering, Horse Riding, Surf Lifesaving, Abseiling and General
Adventure Training.

Skilled Hands at Sea                                                                             67
HMAS NIRIMBA apprentices have achieved a good record of wins in the tri-service apprentice
sports over the years since 1956. Results since then have been:
                         Interservice Sports series held ............ 38
                         Won outright by Navy ........................ 17
                         Won Outright by RAAF ....................... 5
                         Won Outright by ARMY .................... 16
Many of the civilian instructors have contributed much to sport in HMAS NIRIMBA over the
years, giving up their own time for the benefit of trainees. Particularly notable in the field of
sports coaching and management among the civilian instructors have been:
             Mr Reg Houlton                               Mr Roly Manning
             Mr Alvin Moon                                Mr Jack Wilson
             Mr Gordon Forbes                             Mr D Cunningham
             Mr Graham Cherrett                           Mr Jan Leach
             Mr Bruce Willis                              Mr Ken Cutts
             Mr Peter Kelly                               Mr Darrell Coomber
             Mr Lou Farrugia (now deceased)               Mr Rick Paynter
             Mr ‘Dusty’ Miller                            Mr Bob Meadows
             Mr Derek Searle

Mr Phillip Nicholson, one of the HMAS NIRIMBA Barbers is the active manager of the HMAS
NIRIMBA Cycling club which competes successfully against metropolitan teams of cyclists.
On each occasion of passing out of apprentices in HMAS NIRIMBA since 1974, an award has
been presented for the most outstanding sportsman of the passing out group. Prior to 1974,
colours for individual sports codes were awarded to graduates and later sporting shields were
awarded to whole Divisions on passing out of HMAS NIRIMBA.
Since 1974, the most outstanding sportsmen of passing out courses have been:
            1974 .... NSA Son Seng Hock (RMN), AAETW D J Cotton
            1975 .... AMTH P J Mitchell, AMTH P J Bigg, AMTH B K Shaw, ETP
                      W Sutcliffe
            1976 .... Shandra Dass (RMN), ETS D Theile, ETS R S Hirst, ATC J
            1977 .... G T Robinson, B R Freeman, M Gough, G D Green, G Parsons
            1978 .... AMTH I P Bell, AETP R J King, AMTH J A Konemann
            1979 .... AETP P J McConville, AATC E M Higgins, AMTH B W Grant,
                      AMTH C W Neech
            1980 .... AMTH C Denercaz
            1981 .... AATWL A Kirkby, ABETW2 P M Davey, POATWO3 D W
                      Mike, AMTP T Mitchell, LSMTH G Longrigg
            1982 .... ABETP G W McCallum, AATW A J Harris, AMTH Tan
                      Kwong (RMN)
            1983 .... AETS N S Barber, LSATA D J Cornish, AMTP R R Jones,
                      ABETW W K Latham
It will be seen from above, that adult trainees are also considered for the award of most outstanding
sportsman at graduation ceremonies.

68                                                                               Skilled Hands at Sea
Some outstanding sportsmen from HMAS NIRIMBA, many of them ex-apprentices, who stand
out in memory are:
            Lieutenant Commander Frank Wylie - ex-Apprentice (Basketball &
               Australian Football)
            Lieutenant Jim Fern - ex-Apprentice (Athletics)
            Lieutenant Ian Larsen - ex-Apprentice (Rugby)
            Lieutenant John Hogben - ex-Apprentice (Golf and Tennis)
            Lieutenant Commander Mick Hallen - ex-Apprentice (Hockey)
            Apprentice Toby O’Brien - Outstanding Rugby player and all-round
            Apprentice ‘Nugget’ Erskine - Diving (NSW Titles)
            Apprentice Steven Clark - Australian Football & the well-known Navy
               stalwart of football
            Chaplain Frank Mayne
            Chief Writer ‘Bluey’ Guild
            Petty Officer Writer ‘Salty’ Eckel
            AB Writer Brett Quinn, and
            Chaplain Hugh McDonald - (Australian Football).
Leading Seaman PT Ray McGuire, five times Australian Lighweight Boxing Champion, a former
member of HMAS NIRIMBA PT Staff, fought in the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Leading Seaman
PT Joey Donovan, world class boxer, served in HMAS NIRIMBA. Joey’s wife Brenda is a
Senior Physical Training Branch personnel who have served in HMAS NIRIMIBA have been:
                  Lieutenant Commander SDEX PT Vince Powell
                  Lieutenant SDEX PT Jesse James
                  Petty Officer PT Ray Walker
                  Petty Officer PT Charles (Buck) Rodgers)
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Ron Coridas
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Jack Kemp
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Don Milford BEM
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Brad Stead
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Bill Stokes
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Tom Smith
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Alan Sivell
                  Chief Petty Officer PT John Gullotta
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Alan Jorgensen
                  Chief Petty Officer PT Terry Hill (HMAS NIRIMBA
                     Sportsman of the year 1982)
During 1983 HI4AS NIRIMBA achieved much in the field of sport Four NIRIMBA sailors
represented the Navy Rugby Union Colts in a tour of the United Kingdom. These were AB
Writer Brett Quinn, ABMTP Andrew Watt, ABETW Warren Latham and Apprentice MTH
Vance Goodwin. Brett Quinn won the tour award for the best and fairest player of the competition
and the Australian team won five out of the six games against various British Services and
civilian teams.
Able Seaman Writer Matthew Carey of HMAS NIRIMBA represented Australia in New Zealand
with the Combined Services Basketball team against New Zealand Combined Services.
Lieutenant Phil Walker played with the Australian Combined Services Cricket team in New

Skilled Hands at Sea                                                                         69
HMAS NIRIMBA led the scores in the RAN New South Wales/ACT area rifle shooting
championship. Petty Officer MTH Mick Shakespeare was the overall winner. Mick is under
training in HMAS NIRIMBA. Third, fourth, seventh, eighth and ninth places went to HMAS
NIRIMBA shooters Paul Salamon, Mike Wortham, Peter Franklin, Colin Dowd, Peter Dew and
Michael Nilon respectively.
HMAS NIRIMBA Firsts Soccer team won the Area grand final in 1983 under the leadership of
Manager, Lieutenant Peter Doherty and Captain, ABATC Paul Denneny.
The HMAS NIRIMBA Under 20 Australian Football team which plays in the Sydney District
Australian Football League on Saturdays, was undefeated throughout the year and went close to
winning the grand final for the third year in a row. NIRIMBA was narrowly beaten by Parramatta
City. Apprentice Steven Clark of the NIRIMBA Under 20 Australian team won the Sydney
District ‘Hart’ Medal for the best and fairest in the competition for 1983. Steven Clark also won
the HMAS NIRIMBA Sportsman of the Year award for 1983.
Chief Petty Officer PT Terry Hill, Chief Petty Officer Writer Gary Russel and Chief Petty Officer
MTPSM D A G Williams of NIRIMBA were our representatives in the ‘Navy Salts’ team during
the third international ‘Golden Oldies’ Rugby Union Festival held in Sydney in 1983, for players
35 years and over. Over 6,000 players and supporters representing 130 teams from 16 countries
took part in the festival.
The current Physical Training staff of HMAS NIRIMBA consists of:
                              Chief Petty Officer PT T J S Hill
                              Petty Officer PT Robert Murphy
                              Petty Officer PT John Celeban
                              Leading Seaman PT Nick Duryea (1983)
                              Leading Seaman PT Marty Laing (1983)
                              Leading Seaman PT Dave Negus
                              Leading Seaman PT Kel Bryant
                              Leading WRAN PT June Thrupp
                              Leading Seaman MTP Steve Bisgrove
                              Able Seaman Ray Manley
                              Able Seaman MTP Tony Cox
                              Mr Bob Walsh (Groundsman)
                              Leading Seaman PT Steve Roberts
Leading WRAN June Thrupp is one of the first two WRANS to qualify for the Physical Training
branch and the first WRANS PT to serve in HMAS NIRIMBA.
Other well remembered stalwarts of the Physical Training branch in HMAS NIRIMIBA are Bill
Bradford, Pete Smith, Jim Kettle, Ray McGuire, Peter Chirgwin, ‘Nigger’ Phillips, Joey Donovan,
‘Snowy’ Walker and ‘Sandy’ Sadler.
The Physical Training branch of HMAS MRIMBA has recorded a fine story of achievement and
service to HMAS NIRIMBA personnel for more than a quarter of a century.

70                                                                           Skilled Hands at Sea

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