Celebrations and reflection

Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), ABIS Jake Badior (photographer)

Location(s): Mount Druitt, New South Wales

Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Luke Martin presents Able Seaman Glenn Ritchie with the Adelaide Cup after his team, the Fleet Support Unit took out the annual touch football competition being held at Randwick Barracks. (photo: ABIS Jake Badior)
Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Luke Martin presents Able Seaman Glenn Ritchie with the Adelaide Cup after his team, the Fleet Support Unit took out the annual touch football competition being held at Randwick Barracks.

This NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate the culture and traditions of Australia's indigenous peoples, and Navy has many proud indigenous sailors and officers who are sharing their thoughts and stories with Navy Daily.

During NAIDOC Week, Able Seaman Glenn Ritchie is returning home and spending time with his family, which includes his hero, his Nan.  Able Seaman Ritchie says he is looking forward to having some of his Nan’s nice home cooked food and being with his loved ones during this special time. 

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day of Observance Committee. This Committee was once responsible for organising key activities and, as it has grown, the acronym has now become the name for the festival.

The NAIDOC festival is a week long and held annually to recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Able Seaman Ritchie is from Mt Druitt, New South Wales and is of Koori heritage. The Koori are the Indigenous Australians that traditionally occupied modern-day New South Wales and Victoria.   

“NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for me to say thank you to all the people whom have supported me on my life journey,” he said. 

“For me, NAIDOC Week is all about celebrating my culture and history with all my mob.

“Culture really helps people understand each other better.”

Like for many others, NAIDOC week has provided a time for reflection for Able Seaman Ritchie. He is not only reflecting on what it means to be indigenous and taking the time out to appreciate his culture, but also thinking about and planning for, what lies ahead for him. 

“But I have also had time to look forward to the future and make plans for the next chapter of my life.

“This will involve marrying my beautiful fiancé and giving my daughter the life that she deserves,” he said. 

Able Seaman Ritchie is a Boatswains Mate and part of his role involves being a weapons specialist and boarding party member.  He has deployed on a number of operations including Operations SLIPPER and RESOLUTE.

Able Seaman Ritchie has also been involved in humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions such as Operation SAMOA ASSIST and here, in Australia, was called upon to support Operation QUEENSLAND FLOOD ASSIST.  

When not on the water, Able Seaman loves his footy. He played in a number of his hometown’s local teams as a junior, and as recently as last year played touch football with the Fleet Support Unit team, who took out the annual touch football competition at Randwick Barracks and were presented with the Adelaide Cup for 2014.