Naval Gazing students meet Navy’s students at HMAS Cerberus

Published on ABMUSN Clair McGann (author and photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cerberus

Students from Somerville Secondary Collage in the demonstration hall of the Boatswain Faculty, at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria. 


 (photo: ABMUSN Claire McGann)
Students from Somerville Secondary Collage in the demonstration hall of the Boatswain Faculty, at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.

Thirty five local Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning students from Somerville Secondary College visited Navy’s largest training establishment, HMAS Cerberus, in Victoria, as part of the Naval Gazing visit program on July 29.

Naval Gazing, which is managed by the Navy Community Engagement Program, allows schools and community groups to tour the base, learn about the training, career paths and lifestyles of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.

The day provided a unique opportunity to visit and interact with Navy people. Students got a taste of what day to day life on a Navy base entails, including having lunch alongside sailors under training.  

Leading Teacher - Senior Programs Careers Counsellor, Catherine Arnold praised the visit.

“The response far exceeded our hopes; even students who had not considered the Navy as a pathway option were genuinely interested,” Mrs Arnold said.

“They could not get over the Recruit living quarters and the standard of the hospital corners. The consensus on the food was that it was ‘mint’ and some of the hungry boys were amazed that Recruits get roast for lunch.”

Many questions were asked of the staff and trainees that students met throughout the day, covering the spectrum of living in communal harmony taught to sailors, discipline, health and fitness, teamwork and education. Students discovered the many facets of training a Marine Technician undergoes compared to their civilian counterparts, as well as the core skills all sailors learn so they can live and work at sea.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Robert Thompson discusses Navy fire safety at the School of Survivability and Ship Safety with students from Somerville Secondary Collage, at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Robert Thompson discusses Navy fire safety at the School of Survivability and Ship Safety with students from Somerville Secondary Collage, at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.


Highlights included a tour of the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School, the Marine Engineering facility, School of Survivability and Ships Safety and the Boatswains Faculty. Voted most popular was the chance to see the Weapons Training Simulation System, often described by staff as the largest Playstation on the Mornington Peninsula. Staff were equally impressed with the skill and respect shown by students and the commitment to learning safety precautions.

Teachers felt that meeting young sailors currently under training at Cerberus, including some who had graduated only a few years before, made the experience more than just another tour.

“The students had a great day touring Cerberus. They got great insight into a day in the life of a member of the Australian Defence Force,” Somerville Secondary teacher, Cheryl Owens said.