Stirling hosts Midwest Clontarf Academy

Published on LEUT Samantha Dudley (author), CPO Grant Pilgram (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Defence Force Recruiting, Community Engagement

Chief Petty Officer Grant Pilgram of the Navy Domestic Engagement Program gives the students of the Midwest Clontarf Academy a tour of HMAS Stirling.  (photo: LSIS Brad Darvill)
Chief Petty Officer Grant Pilgram of the Navy Domestic Engagement Program gives the students of the Midwest Clontarf Academy a tour of HMAS Stirling.

Twenty-six students from the Midwest Clontarf Academy visited HMAS Stirling last Wednesday, to discover more about life in the Royal Australian Navy.

For the students, who happened to be undertaking an Employment and Leadership school camp at the time, the visit provided an opportunity to gain insight into the varied employment and leadership pathways that the Australian Defence Force has to offer.  

While onboard Stirling, the students were hosted by Defence Force Recruiting Indigenous Recruitment Officer Western Australia, Petty Officer Samuel Sheppard, Fleet Base West Assistant Site Manager, Chief Petty Officer Dean Bromage and Navy Domestic Engagement Coordinator, Chief Petty Officer Grant Pilgram.

“It is very refreshing that the leadership, well-being and self esteem qualities these boys are learning at the Clontarf Academy are preparing them for later life,” said CPO Pilgrim.

During a tour of the establishment, the students stopped at the School of Ship Survivability and Safety to observe fire fighting techniques and learn about damage control onboard naval vessels. 

Visits to the Naval Museum and a tour of the base's highlights, including the wharf areas, accommodation blocks and memorial sites, all provided the students with some history of the Navy and HMAS Stirling. 

A presentation by Navy Domestic Engagement staff encouraged the students to ask questions about leadership and the daily life of a sailor in today’s navy.

Midwest Clontarf Academy Staff Member, Mr Dan Toner said the students were very excited to visit the naval base as none had previously been anywhere near a military establishment.

“This visit is a first for every one of the students here today,” he said.

“The opportunity for these young men to gain an appreciation of military leadership and realise that there are employment opportunities available to them them within Defence is great,” said Mr Toner. 

The Midwest Clontarf Academy programme was established in 2004 and is operated out of Geraldton Senior College and John Willcock College.

The Academy caters for indigenous students from Years 8 to 12 engaging its members through activities which build leadership, wellbeing and self-esteem.