A small ceremony was held in HMAS Stirling recently to mark a significant but not well known honour - the passing of the title of the most senior longest continuously serving graduate of the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell.
Captain Brett Dowsing retired from the Permanent Naval Force on 16 January 2016, after 47 years' service and passed the 'Deed and Covenant' to his own Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett.
Captain Dowsing held the honour since mid-2008 when he assumed the mantle from his Chief of Navy at the time, Vice Admiral Russ Shalders.
"In returning the title to the current Chief of Navy, it should also be acknowledged that three of Vice Admiral Barrett’s 1976 Junior Entry class-mates were still serving," Captain Dowsing said.
The other officers from the class were Rear Admiral Clint Thomas and Commodores Richard Menhinick and Daryl Bates, and 1976 Senior Entry, Captain Mike Spruce.
Vice Admiral Barrett and his class-mates graduated from the College in December 1976 and were each recently awarded Federation Stars in recognition of 40 years' service.
At the ceremony in which he received the 'Deed and Covenant', Chief of Navy also presented Lieutenant Commander Chris Read his second Federation Star for 45 years' service with Lieutenant Commander David Sutherland and Chief Petty Officer Bill Prince, themselves Federation Star holders on hand in support.
Since joining the Royal Australian Naval College as a Junior Entry Cadet Midshipmen in January 1976, Vice Admiral Barrett has had a distinguished and diverse career as a naval officer and aviator. He undertook exchange service in the Royal Navy on North Sea and Atlantic fisheries patrols and was a Flight Commander for Sea King and Seahawk flights in the Middle East.
Vice Admiral Barrett has headed Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trails Unit, 817 Squadron, HMAS Albatross, Naval Aviation Group, Border Protection Command and Fleet Command. He was also Director Naval Officers’ Postings and Director General of Defence Force Recruiting.
"The Deed and Covenant was instituted in 1986 by Commodore Harry Adams and this being its 30th anniversary, it is appropriate that our most senior Royal Australian Naval College graduate is also the Chief of Navy," Captain Dowsing said.