Federation Star to Chief Coxswain

Published on LEUT John Thompson (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Penguin

Topic(s): HMAS Penguin, Federation Star

Rear Admiral Bruce Kafer AM, CSC, RANR, Head Reserve and Youth Division/Commander ADF Cadets, presents Chief Petty Officer Ian Rigby with his Federation Star at HMAS Penguin.  (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Rear Admiral Bruce Kafer AM, CSC, RANR, Head Reserve and Youth Division/Commander ADF Cadets, presents Chief Petty Officer Ian Rigby with his Federation Star at HMAS Penguin.
In 1973, the Sydney Opera House opened, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was released, Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister, and the Watergate hearings began in the United States.  It was also the year that Ian Rigby, walked into HMAS Leeuwin as a 15-year-old to start his naval career.
 
The now Chief Petty Officer Rigby said the decision to join Navy was one of the best decisions of his life.
 
“I joined when you were told what to do when to do it and never question anything,” he said.
 
“I have seen lots of changes and experienced many highs and some lows over the years, but overall I can say that Navy has changed for the better.”
 
He spent the first six years of his career as a Fleet Air Arm sailor.  He has since become one of the Australian Navy’s most experienced Naval Police Coxswains. 
 
In 1980 he transferred to the Naval Police, becoming a Naval Police Coxswain in 1990 when the Coxswain and Naval Police categories merged. He has undertaken multiple deployments at sea and culminated with joining HMAS Penguin (his favourite establishment), for the third time, last year.
 
On his last day of full-time naval service, Chief Petty Officer Rigby was presented with the fifth clasp to his Defence Force Service Medal, or more commonly known as ‘The Federation Star’. 
 
In recognising his service of more than 40 years, Rear Admiral Bruce Kafer, Head Reserve and Youth Division, described the Chief as a “living treasure”.
 
“To be awarded the Federation Star is a great honour that reflects years of professionalism and dedication to ensuring the security of Australia," Rear Admiral Kafer said.
  
Commander Ian Campbell, the Commanding Officer Penguin also paid tribute to Chief Petty Officer Rigby saying, his commitment to duty and years of experience had made a substantial impact on all those he served.
 
“He has been an excellent sailor, and his full-time presence here at HMAS Penguin will be missed,” he said.
 
Chief Petty Officer Rigby, a keen golfer, said one of his goals now will be to reduce his handicap although his transition to the Reserve, will see him work part time back at Penguin.