HMAS Albatross plays an integral role in the Shoalhaven community with personnel participating in every aspect of local life - ceremonial, sporting, educational, cultural and charitable.
The range of events hosted at Albatross on just one day in December demonstrates the extent of the strong links personnel have developed with their hometown.
On 11 December, 816 Squadron hosted their annual barbecue for the children of Noah’s, a local charity which provides education and therapy services for children with additional needs, the Squadron has a longstanding relationship with the organisation. Throughout the year personnel assist the school with general maintenance, conducting working bees and gardening days and other invaluable support.
Lieutenant Daile Coey-Braddon said the barbecue with the Noah’s children was something the Squadron always looked forward to.
“We all work hard to put together a program we know the kids will enjoy. We always take them on a tour where they can get up close to a Seahawk helicopter and this year we had some help from the firies which was a definite hit.
"After that we had a barbecue for the children and their carers and were really pleased to be able to present the school with a cheque for $600 which we had raised throughout the year," he said.
The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre also had a cheque to present that day.
Commanding Officer, Commander Darren Nasato presented a donation of $1,000 to Rural Fire Service representative Mr Stuart Thaler. The money was raised at a series of 'bake offs' held throughout the year. Organiser, Petty Officer Lee Clark said it was a very popular fund raising concept.
“Following the judging we sold tasting plates so everyone got to sample the baking. It was a great way to raise money and it also brought everyone together. I’m particularly pleased that as a small unit, we were able to raise such a significant amount," he said.
The final event of the day was the annual church service for 100 children from Nowra Hill Public School which was conducted in the Albatross Chapel by Chaplain Barry Porter. Albatross Commanding Officer, Captain Simon Bateman, said the service was a very fitting finish to community engagement for the year.
“Throughout 2014 our involvement in raising funds and awareness has involved - to name just a few - running marathons, giving blood, growing moustaches, shaving heads, cycling to work, being locked in a makeshift jail cell, relaying for life, wearing white ribbons, baking cupcakes and sleeping out for the homeless," Captain Bateman said.
Causes supported included the Cancer Council, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Australian Leukodystrophy Support Group, Nowra Community & Veterans Men’s Shed, Leukemia Foundation, Legacy, Red Cross, Police and Community Youth Centres, Shoalhaven Employment Expo, White Ribbon & the RSPCA.
"To be sitting in the Albatross Chapel, listening to one hundred children singing Silent Night - I can’t think of a better note to end on," he said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20143835.