Traditions outweigh technology onboard HMAS Wollongong

Published on LSIS Jo Dilorenzo (author), ABIS Kathy Tuddenham (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Wollongong (P92)

Ardent Three crew members embarked on HMAS Wollongong choose to play the traditional game of 'Uckers' over the electronic entertainment on offer. (Clockwise from left): LSCIS Tim Howard, ABMT Ronnie Turner, ABCIS Stephanie Shipman, and LSMT James Harvey. (photo: ABIS Kathy Tuddenham)
Ardent Three crew members embarked on HMAS Wollongong choose to play the traditional game of 'Uckers' over the electronic entertainment on offer. (Clockwise from left): LSCIS Tim Howard, ABMT Ronnie Turner, ABCIS Stephanie Shipman, and LSMT James Harvey.

Despite the high tech equipment installed in the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPB), the daily event that draws a crowd in the Junior Sailors Mess of HMAS Wollongong (with crew ARDENT THREE embarked) isn’t technology, but a good old fashioned ‘uckers’ board.

Uckers is a traditional game played by many service personnel, predominately Navy. The game is believed to originate in the 18th century from an Indian game called Pachisi.

Able Seaman Tristan Cocks made a portable uckers board and game pieces. It was priority luggage when he and his fellow crew members flew from their homeport in Cairns to join their boat in Darwin for a crew hand over.

“It is a great way to bring the crew together and break up the monotonous eight week patrol,” said AB Cocks.

The game is intense; the mess is alive with roars and squeals depending who is playing.

Different departments play against each other until the champion is identified.

The time old Navy tradition of uckers is still alive onboard HMAS Wollongong, and AB Cocks’ homemade uckers board will ensure it stays that way for years to come.