Keeping on task while off watch at Stirling

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia

Members of the HMAS Stirling Off Watch Centre. (L-R) Petty Officer Electronics Technician (ET) Stuart Gouldthorp, Petty Officer ET Philp Andrew, Chaplain Robert Graue, Leading Seaman ET Submarines Daniel O'Rouke, Able Seaman ET Kacey Neindorf, Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Jessica Clarke and Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Submarines Brittany Alexander. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Members of the HMAS Stirling Off Watch Centre. (L-R) Petty Officer Electronics Technician (ET) Stuart Gouldthorp, Petty Officer ET Philp Andrew, Chaplain Robert Graue, Leading Seaman ET Submarines Daniel O'Rouke, Able Seaman ET Kacey Neindorf, Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Jessica Clarke and Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Submarines Brittany Alexander.

HMAS Stirling personnel have celebrated a year of learning, tinkering, stretching, creating, singing, dancing, and building community, marking the first birthday of the innovative 'Off-Watch Centre' on the Western Australian base.

The centre was established by a passionate group of volunteers and has been a hive of activity for Navy people to meet, at what was a previously under-utilised facility, and engage in a variety of activities ranging from martial arts to music.

The centre was developed to provide innovative and constructive activities for 600 personnel living onboard Stirling, increasing a sense of community for many who had been posted far from their regular networks.

Commanding Officer Stirling, Captain Brian Delamont, said that many Navy personnel lacked transport or the opportunity to integrate into community events ashore and that the centre was providing balance that many people needed.

“Facilities were provided with a structure for a demand-driven activities, and the skills and passion of individuals led to diverse range,” Captain Delamont said.

Investment by Navy and club members has been validated, with strong support and expansion to not only those who live on the base, but those who live ashore and their families.

“With many of the original organisers posting out, we are working to build on their efforts through additional clubs and also in upgrading facilities,” he said

The wider Stirling community sees the benefits of individual well-being, creativity coupled with building individual and team resilience.

Future activities include car maintenance, woodworking and metalworking workshops, and yoga.