Commander cha-chas for community support

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Des Paroz (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): Darwin, NT

Topic(s): HMAS Coonawarra

The Commander Northern Command, Commodore Brenton Smyth, RAN, participates in the 'Dancing With Celebrities' Gala Event in Darwin, with his dance partner, Nicole. (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
The Commander Northern Command, Commodore Brenton Smyth, RAN, participates in the 'Dancing With Celebrities' Gala Event in Darwin, with his dance partner, Nicole.

A feature of the social calendar in Darwin is the annual Dancing with Celebrities Gala Ball, and this year the Commander Northern Command, Commodore Brenton Smyth, participated in an event that was aimed at raising funds and awareness for Total Recreation.

Founded in 1991, Total Recreation was established to acknowledge the major part that leisure plays in everyone's life, and to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the same sports and recreational activities as all members of society.

Commodore Smyth was among a group of prominent government officials, business people and media personalities from Darwin who paired up with a group of people with disabilities to prepare for and participate in the gala event.

"The program started six weeks before the main event, with weekly practice sessions where the participants got together and practiced while getting to know each other.

"After the first three weeks dance pairs were determined, and we then spent the remaining three weeks practicing in our pairs, preparing for the big night," he said.

The Commander Northern Command, Commodore Brenton Smyth, RAN, participates in the 'Dancing With Celebrities' Gala Event in Darwin, with his dance partner, Nicole.

The Commander Northern Command, Commodore Brenton Smyth, RAN, participates in the 'Dancing With Celebrities' Gala Event in Darwin, with his dance partner, Nicole.


The gala event was held at Darwin's Sky City, and featured fine food, fundraising events, and of course, the dancing.

The dancing was judged across three main events, plus two all in events where members of the audience joined in, and partners alternated.

Commodore Smyth and his dance partner, Nicole, were picked by the judges as the champions of the 'Balmoral Blues'.

"The dancing was a lot of fun, and it was a great event to support an organisation that does great work at the grass-roots level.

"Being selected by the judges was great, but the reality is that everyone who participated were winners.

"I felt very privileged to be asked to participate, and was glad that I could be part of something very worthwhile," Commodore Smyth said.

Total Recreation provides a range of programs to provide adult and youth members a range of opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and social networks, and provide support to people with disabilities who express a desire to access recreational activities.