Mum’s the word for Australia Day Award recipient

Published on SBLT Bianca Wise (author), CPL Nick Wiseman (photographer)

Warrant Officer Shannon Locke (photo: CPL Nick Wiseman)
Warrant Officer Shannon Locke

Former Mareeba State High School Student, Shannon Locke, has been recognised on the Australia Day Honours list for her devotion to duty in the Royal Australian Navy.

As a Hydrographic Systems Manager, Warrant Officer (WO) Locke feels proud of the Australia Day recognition.

“I'm extremely honoured, although personally I feel like I'm just getting on with doing the job that was asked of me,” WO Locke said. “I'm very passionate about the Hydrgraphic Surveying Category and the wider Hydrographic community, particularly the people that serve within it.

“The importance of the Hydrographic Service in directly supporting safety of life at sea, protection of the marine environment and enabling maritime trade cannot be understated.”

At 35 years of age, Shannon has received the Conspicuous Service Medal for meritorious devotion to duty as Hydrographic Surveying Category Manager at the Directorate of Navy Category Management, Director General Navy People.

When sharing the news of the award with her family the Queenslander was overwhelmed by support.

“My family are all very proud, especially my mum,” WO Locke said, “she's very supportive of my Naval career and always has been since the day I decided to enlist.”

Shannon attributes her achievement to her mother Sharron, a proud parent who now has three children serving in the Australian Defence Force.

“She couldn't be prouder of all three of us, having chosen a career in the Defence Force and she has every right to be.

“She raised us as a sole parent which was not easy and what we've achieved in our lives and career to date is a testament to her and our upbringing; our rewards are hers.”

Shannon’s two younger siblings Darryl, 32, and Kristin, 28, both followed in their sister’s footsteps pursuing careers in the military.

“My brother is a Warrant Officer 2 in the Australian Army while my sister Kristin is a Lieutenant in the Navy.”

Enlisting at 18 years of age in 1996, WO Locke is now enjoying her 18th year in the Navy as the Hydrographic Surveying (HS) Category Manager.

The Royal Australian Navy through the Australian Hydrographic Service is the Commonwealth Government agency responsible for production of Australia’s official nautical charts (paper and electronic), Tide Tables and other nautical publications for all ships navigating the seas and oceans around Australia.

The charting area for the Hydrographic Survey Fleet covers one eighth of the Earth's surface, stretching as far west as Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, east to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean and from the Solomon Islands to the Antarctic.

This is the first award of such a high calibre the Mareeba local has received.

In the past 12 months, the Australia Day Award isn’t the only exciting achievement for Shannon who, with her husband Peter, welcomed into the world their first child last year.

“I gave birth to our daughter Matilda in May and have just returned to work,” Shannon said, “receiving this award makes for a very positive start to the New Year and gives me the encouragement to remain focussed on achieving my goals both personal and professional.”