Walking in the wake of Waller

This article has photo gallery Published on NEOC 61 Waller Division (author), ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Creswell, NSW

Topic(s): Naval College, HMAS Creswell

Members of the Royal Australian Naval College 1914 entry, including future Captain Hector Waller (back row, second from right). (photo: )
Members of the Royal Australian Naval College 1914 entry, including future Captain Hector Waller (back row, second from right).

Twenty-three of Navy’s newest recruits have reflected on their experiences of their New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC) and sought to understand how it compares with their forebears of 1914.

The classroom where Waller Division conducts the bulk of its studies proudly displays a large photo of the 1914 Royal Australian Navy College intake, which included Captain Hector Waller, for whom their division is named. 

Waller’s Divisional Officer, Lieutenant Andrew Johnston, said the class was inspired by the stories of the Midshipmen who came before them to work hard and perform well in their studies.

“NEOC is a transformative experience for those joining the Royal Australian Navy,” Lieutenant Johnston said.

“The Division are particularly by intrigued the early intakes of the College and the lessons they can draw from the past.

“Captain Waller’s story of professional setbacks and overcoming challenges has helped today’s Midshipmen overcome their own hardships by learning the value of perseverance and determination in the face of adversity.

“Waller Division has been in awe of the resilience of the young men that made up the class of 1914. The average age of a recruit in 1914 was just 13, and without today’s level of communications back home they find it almost unimaginable that anyone so young would join the Navy.

“The early RAN College broke with British tradition and entrants were accepted based on merit rather than their social stratum. Today, the Waller Division of NEOC 61 is even more representative of Australia.

“Twenty per cent of the cohort is female and a good number of the team were born overseas or speak a language other than English at home.

“The Waller Division of 2019 has hit the mark and lived up the motto that they “Never give up on each other, ourselves or our mission”.

“The Royal Australian Navy College builds resilience, forges camaraderie and friendships that last a lifetime, and carries a well-earned reputation of commitment to service that has been the hallmark of Navy recruits for over a century.”

The class of the 61st New Entry Officers’ Course will graduate from the Royal Australian Navy College, HMAS Creswell, on 28 November.

You can read more about Captain Hector Waller at https://www.navy.gov.au/biography/captain-hector-hec-macdonald-laws-waller.