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Balmain, NSW Australia

Blog Post

Wednesday Wonder – Glen Farrawell

Wednesday Wonder – Glen Farrawell

Celebrating An Amazing 40 Years of Service, Integrity, Courage and Mateship.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking.

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.”

The Chief                          

Chief Glen

We celebrate our rowers actions both on the course and events in their personal lives but behind each rower and the squad are amazing people. Some are world renowned musicians, others are leaders in the fields of management, education, medicine, sport or service.

All are unsung heroes, but today we  celebrate one member on the anniversary of forty years of service to this country and we do so to say thank you for your service, thank you for being there when needed whether following storm or the ravages following natural disasters, whether fighting bushfires,  whether in Fiji during the three coups or in East Timor when the terrible war raged and you were called upon to find the bodies of the murdered, to stop the killings and to protect the innocent.

You and your ship’s crew  were there when hurricanes struck and when whole villages were blown away and you led the team of naval re-building, reinstituting water, power and basic services.

July 4 1978:

The beginning of a life devoted to others and one that began exactly 18 months earlier when Glen Farrawell, Ruby’s Dad, began his recruitment process culminating in his being chosen by the Naval Selection Board for enlistment into the July 1978 intake of apprentices. On this day we celebrate Glen’s 40 years of continuous service with the Australian Navy, a feat shared by under five others.

Over those forty years Glen has been recognised for outstanding work, bravery, serving in war zones, being at the forefront of assistance following severe catastrophes and all through those years and challenges he has maintained a smile and a sense of balance that has allowed him to lead and teach hundreds of other naval personnel how to respond to the impossible tasks, how to work like McGyver with sometimes just a piece of string and chewing gum and how no task no matter how challenging can’t be accomplished.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.


After completing his initial apprentice training as Marine Technical Hull [ Naval Shipwright] he served in the following postings:

  • HMAS Nirimba where he was promoted to Seaman Star , (Shore establishment Quakers Hill )
  • HMAS Cerberus – promoted to Rank of Seaman (Shore establishment, Mornington Peninsular )
  • HMAS Vampire DD11 (Destroyer Squadron 3)– promoted to rank of Able Seaman
  • HMAS Platypus – (Shore establishment, Neutral Bay)
  • HMAS Brisbane DDG 41 ( Destroyer Squadron 1) – where Glen completed his training and attained his full qualification as Naval Shipbuilder
  • HMAS Watson – (Shore establishment, Watsons Bay)
  • HMAS Yarra DE 45 (Destroyer Squadron 2) – member of the decommissioning crew and promoted to rank of Leading Seaman
  • HMAS Success AOR 304 – Replenishment ship Auxiliary Squadron
  • HMAS Kuttabul – promoted to rank of Petty Officer, Shore establishment, Potts Point
  • HMAS Success AOR 304 – Replenishment ship, Auxiliary Squadron
  • HMAS Cerberus – Promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer and attained the qualification of Dock Master, Mornington Peninsular
  • HMAS Success AOR 304 – replenishment ship Auxiliary Squadron
  • HMAS Kuttabul – (Shore establishment, Potts Point)
  • HMAS Success AOR 304 – Replenishment ship, Auxiliary Squadron
  • HMAS Coonawarra – Darwin NT
  • HMAS Benalla SML A04 – Hydrographic survey group, Cairns Qld
  • HMAS Kuttabul – (Shore establishment – Potts Point )
  • HMAS Adelaidde LHD 01 ( Landing Helicopter Dock Ship – Amphibious Group )
  • HMAS Kuttabul – current posting, (Shore posting, Potts Point )
    Drop Anchor, the fish are biting !
    Time for the beard….don’t all sailors have beards?


The medals are ranked from least important to most important and are worn from the outside in toward the heart. Least important is furthest from Glen’s heart with the Highest Ranking closest to his heart.

They are in ascending order right to left as viewed:

From Right to Left
  • Australian Defence Medal (ADM) and recognises Glen’s initial enlistment period.
  • Defence Force Service Medal (DFSM) recognises 15 years of efficient remunerated service prior to 20 April 1999. The silver clasps are awarded for each further periods of five years efficient regular service (Reserve service and continuous full time service in the Reserve doesn’t qualify towards the clasps. Service must be completed as a permanent Defence member. Glen’s current medal signifies 35 years of continuous service with a clasp to be added post 4 July 2018 signifying 40 years of service.
  • Australian Operational Service Medal (AOSM ) awarded to Glen for his service during border protection and South Pacific Coup operations, Fiji, with Glen serving through the three coups; Northern Fisheries and People Smuggling Operations.
  • The International Force East Timor (INTERFET ) Medal recognises Glen’s service in Est Timor during the INTERFET campaign ( 16/9/1999 – 10/4 2000).
  • The Australian Active Service Medal (AASM), Glen’s clasp is for East Timor.


Just a few, far too many for all……

It’s fitting that Glen’s AASM medal sits closest to his heart as

“my service in East Timor will stay in my memory forever…”

“My service in East Timor will stay in my memory forever. There were explosions, fires and shootings occurring with great frequency in Dili, and even worse were the human atrocities we saw that were occurring in the surrounding outlying areas. We were able to maintain local and internal morale and optimism under the most difficult of circumstances”. When Glen’s ship was attacked by militants, and then declined entry into East Timor, his ship was then ordered to return to Darwin to unload normal stores, re-arm and reload the ship, with not only military hardware but humanitarian aid supplies.

He and his shipmates pushed themselves to work even harder, unloading and reloading the ship in record time. They then distributed these stores that were needed to protect and provide shelter to the people of East Timor. He said  “it was in situations like these that allowed me to reflect and be true to the  Navy’s five core values of honour, honesty, courage, integrity and loyalty.

[   http://www.navy.gov.au/history/feature-histories/operation-astute-ran-east-timor ]

Glen said he was honoured to be able to organize a team of navy  personnel to travel to Lightning Ridge and build the town’s very first 50 metre pool . A group of schoolgirls had spent many months raising the money to try and build the pool and then put a call out to the Australian public asking for assistance. Glen answered and though Lightning Ridge is many many thousands of miles from the coast  as Glen put it “we don’t just serve the coast but we serve the whole of Australia, wherever you live”. [ http://www.navy.gov.au/media-room/publications/navy-news/1990 ][see December edition].

The Navy does more than float ships over the ocean as Glen has shown by his service and by being  there in times of need and disaster as in Vanuatu, rescuing refugees, fighting bushfires as well as being part of a peacekeeping force and maintaining order and preserving and protecting innocent victims of war such as in East Timor.

Today we salute Glen Farrawell and say thank you for your unselfish service to us and for giving your working life to your country.

May you pop many corks of champagne and enjoy the toasts of others in recognition of  your forty years of Naval service.

A young Chief leading even then

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield

Sea Fever 1902



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