Naval cadets get the chance of a lifetime

Leading Seaman Declan Smith (centre) and Seaman Moore from TS Navy Cadet Unit with Indonesian Navy Cadets.
Leading Seaman Declan Smith (centre) and Seaman Moore from TS Navy Cadet Unit with Indonesian Navy Cadets.

He and 300 navy cadets from Australia came together for the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first warships into Sydney.

College Principal Andrew Newhouse was pleased to hear Declan was one of 26 West Australian cadets who were able to attend.

‘I believe there were more than 600 applicants for only 300 places at the event,’ Mr Newhouse said.

‘For a young man to experience the life of a real navy officer not only builds upon his life experience, but also creates a platform on which he can plan for his future career.’

For Declan, the experience was surreal and he said the highlight was getting to see and perform for royalty.

‘I got to see Prince Harry and the Governor General of Australia in person,’ he said.

‘I played the Bosun’s Call with five other cadets standing at the front of the jetty.

‘This called all cadets to attention as they walked past.’

In addition, Declan had the honour of being a flag bearer for the HMAS Shepparton in the 14,000 strong all-navy parade that marched through Sydney.

‘The purpose of the whole event was to recreate the arrival of the first warships into Sydney,’ Declan said.

‘Altogether there were about six fleets with four to eight ships in each fleet.

‘We had to wake up at 4am, bed at 10 or 11pm, iron our clothes and make our beds military style.

‘We stayed in the Holdworthy Barracks as though I was in the army, even though I am a Navy cadet.

‘We shared the same mess hall as army officers who are in service and it was great to meet them.’

Declan said he enjoyed navy cadets and the opportunity to learn things other people did not.

‘Like flying in a four-seat Cessna, sailing, shooting, attending community service days such as Anzac, Remembrance and Vietnam Veteran’s days,’ he said.

‘I have learnt leadership skills, travelled, made lifelong friends, met interesting and important people as well,’ he said.