NSW-based Navy personnel shine in Queen's Birthday 2019 Honours

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew Herring (author), Lauren Larking (photographer), LSIS Ronnie Baltoft (photographer), LSIS Tara Byrne (photographer), LSIS Kayla Jackson (photographer), LSIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer), LSIS Steven Thomson (photographer), LSIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Topic(s): Queen’s Birthday Honours, Order of Australia, Conspicuous Service Medal, Conspicuous Service Cross

Some of the NSW-based Navy personnel recognised in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List, from left, WO James Dew, LCDR Belinda Finlay, CAPT Damien Scully-O'Shea, LCDR Sarah Rhys-Jones, and CAPT John Stavridis. (photo: )
Some of the NSW-based Navy personnel recognised in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List, from left, WO James Dew, LCDR Belinda Finlay, CAPT Damien Scully-O'Shea, LCDR Sarah Rhys-Jones, and CAPT John Stavridis.

Exceptional dedication, leadership, technical knowledge and achievement were the hallmarks of the NSW-based Navy personal recognised in the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List.

A total of 13 NSW-resident officers and sailors were recognised with admission to the Military Division of the Order of Australia or with military awards.

Rear Admiral Greg Sammut AM CSC was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for exceptional performance and superior leadership resulting in successful completion of the Competition Evaluation Process that selected Australia next generation submarine. 

Rear Admiral the Hon. Justice Michael Slattery and Commodore Malcolm Wise OAM were appointed as Members of the Order of Australia for exceptional leadership, respectively as Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force, and as head of an international taskforce that seized around $2.8 billion worth of hashish and heroin across the Middle East and western Indian Ocean regions. 

Order of Australia Medals were awarded to Warrant Officer Dennis Bentley CSM, for dedication, leadership and professionalism in Navy human resource management, and Warrant Officer James Dew for his technical knowledge and leadership while introducing the Navy’s new Canberra Class amphibious ships.

Captain John Stavridis RAN was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross for outstanding achievement as the first commanding officer of HMAS Hobart, a crucial role in introducing the new Hobart class air warfare destroyer. The culture instilled in personnel operating these complex warships by Captain Stavridis’ leadership has significantly improved Navy’s maritime and joint warfighting capability.

Seven NSW-based navy personnel were awarded Conspicuous Service Medals for outstanding service and achievement in various roles. Among them were three remarkable women.

Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Lauren Carruthers, based at HMAS Albatross on the NSW South Coast, was recognised for superior knowledge and skills developing and delivering technical training for Navy’s new MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ Helicopter. The training system Petty Officer Carruthers helped create has not only increased the competency and operational proficiency of the maritime combat helicopter force, but also established Navy’s Training Authority – Aviation among Australia’s foremost technical training organisations. 

Lieutenant Commander Belinda Finlay was recognised for “inspirational” commitment while serving as First Lieutenant at HMAS Albatross, particularly for developing constructive relationships across the base and with the local community and compassionately supporting personnel under her command.

“I am honoured and humbled to receive this award, it was completely unexpected. I was just doing my job,” Lieutenant Commander Finlay said.

“I’m especially touched to be recognised for compassionate support for sailors because taking a compassionate approach to leadership was a key objective for me as I strived to apply my personal Christian values to the role.”

Lieutenant Commander Sarah Rhys-Jones was recognised for meritorious achievement as Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) in HMAS Warramunga while serving alongside the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Operation MANITOU in the Middle East from October 2017 until July 2018.

Lieutenant Commander Rhys-Jones’ tactical and operational understanding, along with her expert intelligence analysis and collaborative approach to planning, enabled Warramunga to successfully detect, interdict and board suspect vessels across a wide area of operations.

Other NSW-based Navy Conspicuous Service Medal recipients were: Captain Damien Scully-O’Shea for meritorious devotion to duty as Executive Officer of HMAS Canberra; Commander Nicholas Field for meritorious achievement in the field of Navy Cyber; Commander Steven McCracken for meritorious achievement as Deputy Director Maritime Commitments in the Maritime Operations Branch; and Chief Petty Officer Anthony Sherburd for meritorious devotion to duty in the field of Navy Information Warfare.

The full Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List is available at: