Thirroul Talent earns Australia Day Award before taking on English Channel Swim

Published on SBLT Bianca Wise (author), LS Lauren Black (photographer)

CMDR Lawrence Stubbs has been honoured in the 2014 Australia Day Honours List with the award of the Conspicuous Service Cross. (photo: LS Lauren Black)
CMDR Lawrence Stubbs has been honoured in the 2014 Australia Day Honours List with the award of the Conspicuous Service Cross.

Royal Australian Navy member, Commander (CMDR) Lawrence Stubbs, has been honoured this Australia Day with the Conspicuous Service Cross.

The award was given to the Thirroul local for his outstanding devotion to duty as Project Manager Fleet Regulatory Review Implementation Team in Fleet Command.

“I feel honoured to earn the award,” said CMDR Stubbs, “I see so many people working hard and achieving great things, but to be recognised at this level is quite humbling.”

Born in the UK, CMDR Stubbs immigrated to Australia at the age of 9 in 1972, where he grew up on the South Coast of New South Wales before joining the Navy in 1979.

Joining the Navy was an easy decision to make for the current serving Marine Engineer who describes a Naval career path as his boy hood dream.

“I had family that served in World War One and Two and Korea and it seemed like the thing to do,” explained CMDR Stubbs, “I also wanted to have some fun, and stories told by my family influenced the decision, so I joined the Navy at the age of 15 as a Junior Recruit.

“All up I have been in the Navy Family for 35 years.”

The Australia Day Award is the first significant achievement of the year for CMDR Stubbs, but it certainly won’t be the last with the Thirroul swim coach attempting to swim the English Channel later this year.

“I had taken ill in 2007 and had to make significant changes to my lifestyle.

“Swimming was something I had always been good at, so the decision to take up endurance events was a logical step in returning to full health.

“I started long distance swimming in 2008 and in 2009 I attempted my first ocean race.

“In mid 2010 I met a coach in Perth by the name of Paul Newsome and under his direction I completed my first Rottnest Channel swim solo in 2011.

“It was after this race that I decided to attempt the English Channel, which is considered by most to be the Mount Everest of ocean swims.”

“Since 2010 I have participated in Australia’s toughest Ocean swims; the Rottnest Channel and the Bondi to Watson’s Bay races on two occasions,” the Thirroul local said, “but the English Channel will be the biggest swim I will attempt.“

His wife Elaine who is also an ocean swimmer will be a crucial part of the support crew when CMDR Stubbs attempts the channel in August.

Following in his Naval footsteps, CMDR Stubbs’ son Mitchell, a Midshipman, is currently in his third year of an Engineering Degree at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

CMDR Stubbs is honoured to receive a place on the Honours List and looks forward to sharing the award surprise with his family today.