Sailor’s special Norfolk bond

Published on LEUT Darryl Wagstaff (author), ABET Luke van Beekhuizen (photographer)

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Support Operations Joshua Matthews, a New Zealand native, who grew up in Kurri Kurri, New Southh Wales, was also posted to Sirius in 2009 when the ship last visited Norfolk Island. It was during this visit he met his now wife, Shonelle, who was working at the local hairdressing salon on the remote island. (photo: ABET Luke van Beekhuizen)
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Support Operations Joshua Matthews, a New Zealand native, who grew up in Kurri Kurri, New Southh Wales, was also posted to Sirius in 2009 when the ship last visited Norfolk Island. It was during this visit he met his now wife, Shonelle, who was working at the local hairdressing salon on the remote island.

When HMAS Sirius recently visited Norfolk Island it was a time of reflection for one sailor on board.
 
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Support Operations Joshua Matthews, a New Zealand native, who grew up in Kurri Kurri, New Southh Wales, was also posted to Sirius in 2009 when the ship last visited Norfolk Island. It was during this visit he met his now wife, Shonelle, who was working at the local hairdressing salon on the remote island.
 
“We were introduced to one another at the Norfolk Island RSL Club and hit it off straight away,” Leading Seaman Matthews said. 

“Two years later I popped the question and we have been happily married ever since and now have two young children.
 
“My wife still keeps in touch with some of her Norfolk Island friends, so whilst I was there I took the opportunity to pop in and say hello.” he added.
 
Sirius
 shares a significant historical bond with Norfolk Island dating back to 1790 when HMS Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet, was sent on a special mission to Norfolk Island by the Governor of New South Wales. As a result of bad weather HMS Sirius subsequently ran aground on the island on 19 March.
 
Leading Seaman Matthews was a junior member of the Kurri Kurri Rugby League Club and joined the Royal Australian Navy from Newcastle in 2007. His primary role on board is Commanding Officer’s valet and to supervise official hospitality requirements. He is also a key member of the Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party, manages the Sirius canteen, and is the assistant ship’s photographer.
 
“I have been deployed many times but the most challenging, and satisfying, was being part of the International Coalition Against Terrorism (Operation SLIPPER) Task Force while posted to HMAS Toowoomba,” reflected Leading Seaman Matthews.
 
On returning to his home port in Perth later this month, Leading Seaman Matthews will be looking forward to some quality family time, playing with his two young boys, and when time permits, a round of golf!