Resilience and reassurance – chaplaincy at sea

Published on LCDR Helen Ward (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Adelaide (L01), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

The Chaplain of HMAS Adelaide, Lieutenant Commander Richard Quadrio is seen in before a MRH90 helicopter during Indo Pacific Endeavour 2017. (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
The Chaplain of HMAS Adelaide, Lieutenant Commander Richard Quadrio is seen in before a MRH90 helicopter during Indo Pacific Endeavour 2017.

There is something reassuring about a smiling face or someone who asks how you are going when you feel a little overwhelmed, and in HMAS Adelaide there is one man who makes reassurance his business.

Although having family links to the Navy in the Second World War, it was Richard Quadrio’s eldest son who pointed out a recruiting advertisement for Navy Chaplains in 2011.
 
Chaplain Quadrio does not fit the typical new entry officer profile or have the same motivations that drive most people to join the Navy but his shipmates reap the benefits of his literal sea change.
 
“I had been a Presbyterian minister for 25 years in different Sydney parishes and all three of our children had moved out of home, so I thought why not apply,” Chaplain Quadrio said.
 
“Before I knew it I was in uniform on the New Entry Officers’ Course at HMAS Creswell near Jervis Bay with other new officers learning the ropes.”
 
In the first five years of his naval career Chaplain Quadrio has been at sea for more than four years but he said he has enjoyed every posting.
 
“I rate my time in HMAS Darwin as a highlight of my Navy career because I was serving with wonderful people in very demanding conditions whilst deployed to the Persian Gulf,” he said.
 
“I am proud to say I was the last chaplain on HMAS Darwin which decommissions at the end of 2017 and I am the first chaplain to be posted to HMAS Adelaide.”
 
Adelaide is currently participating in Indo-Pacific Endeavour, a three-month task group deployment through the region.
 
Many of the activities that Adelaide and other ships are participating in highlight regional security cooperation and interoperability.
 
"Being a Navy Chaplain has many challenges including applying my faith to this real world diverse environment,” he said.
 
“Many in the Navy are keen to explore how spirituality can assist, especially in building resilience.
 
“I am very fortunate to have the full support of my family too; my wife is looking forward to me being posted ashore next year; my eldest son joined the Navy after me as a Legal Officer and my second son is starting his training as a Maritime Trade Operations Officer in October.”
 
It looks like the Navy will soon have a fleet of Quadrios!