Defence Indigenous Development Program visits HMAS Darwin

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Chris Davidson (author), LSCIS Lachlan Tye (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East

Topic(s): Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP)

A group of 27 recruits and three staff from the Defence Indigenous Development Program observe the 76mm gun during their tour of HMAS Darwin, alongside Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney.  (photo: LSCIS Lachlan Tye)
A group of 27 recruits and three staff from the Defence Indigenous Development Program observe the 76mm gun during their tour of HMAS Darwin, alongside Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney.

A group of 27 recruits and three staff from the Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP) visited HMAS Darwin on September 4. The aim of the visit was to provide the DIDP recruits with further exposure to Navy life, and the organisation as a whole, before they attend the Royal Australian Navy’s recruit school.

To date, the recruits have completed three weeks of basic induction training at HMAS Cerberus, toured Defence sites in Canberra including the Australian War Memorial and Australian Defence Force Academy, and have just spent the week touring Navy establishments in Sydney, including HMA Ships Waterhen, Penguin and Watson.

Darwin was the second last visit in Sydney for the recruits before they headed off to TAFE to gain the qualifications needed to attend Recruit School proper in 2015.

Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Terry Morrison, warmly greeted the recruits onboard. He expressed the importance of diversity in the Australian Defence Force and how it enhances operational capability.

Petty Officers Stojanovski and Lewis lead the tours around Darwin, providing an insight into life onboard a warship, showing them everything from weapons systems to mess decks. Highlights of the tour included the armoury, operations room, Guided Missile Launcher, Close In Weapon System (CIWS) and 76mm gun. During the question and answer session, the recruits had many questions about their future career progression, what it is like working at sea, returning home and keeping in touch with family.

Defence Indigenous Development Program Recruits Kaigey, Jawai, Salam and Banu alongside Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney during a tour of HMAS Darwin.

Defence Indigenous Development Program Recruits Kaigey, Jawai, Salam and Banu alongside Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney during a tour of HMAS Darwin.


Recruit Jawai took great delight sitting in the Captain’s chair in the operations room. Aspiring Clearance Divers, recruits Ketchell and Lei, enjoyed the whole tour, and loved the weapon systems, especially the CIWS.

“It was really good looking around Darwin,” said recruit Nona, “The gun was really cool, but I want to be a Marine Technician!”

Recruit Nona’s enthusiasm was rewarded with a special tour of the Central Control Station (CCS) - the heart of the engineering plant.

This is the second Navy-lead Indigenous Development Program. The first was conducted earlier in 2014 and yielded 19 new recruits for the Royal Australian Navy.