September 23, 2008

In the Navy!


On Sunday, Rob, Brook and myself started out on 'Brook's Big Adventure!'
We were on the road to Townsville (423kms south of Gordonvale) by 10.30am. We stopped for lunch at Cardwell (about the half way mark) and sat at a picnic table right on the edge of the beach. It was lovely just being out of the car for a while. We'd had a going away bbq on Saturday night so there was quite a bit of left over food which we'd packed for lunch. Brook slept most of the way after that, because after the family get together, she'd gone to her girlfriends place. A bunch of their friends from Innisfail (about an hour south of G'vale) had gathered there for a farewell party and they made sure that she didn't get any sleep.

We booked into a hotel in Townsville, which was just a short walk (uphill) from the Recruiting Office, where she had to present on Monday morning. Once we settled in, we went on a very long walk to find somewhere to eat.
Townsville on a Sunday is the most boring place on Earth! We ended up having hot dogs at the Great Australian Ice Creamery. Not even the pubs were open (unlike Cairns). Cafes and restaurants are closed - obviously the misguided tourists who visit there don't get hungry. Apparently there is a strip with eateries, but it was too far for us to walk. Brook ended up sleeping from the time we got back to the hotel (about 5.30pm) until 6.15 the next morning! Rob and I ate at the small restaurant in the hotel. To say that it was forgettable would be an understatement. We were both pretty grateful to get to bed.

After breakfast on Monday, we headed to the Recruitment Office for Brook's induction into the Navy. As I said previously, it was only a short walk, but Brook had been sensible enough to by a large duffle bag with a trolly built in. Just as well, because, even after we had cut her packing to the minimum, it still weighed a ton and she had to pull it up the hill. We were there at 9am and she completed her paper work, had a final blood test and made contact with some of the other enlistees. We then left her there for a briefing. We went for yet another walk. Honestly, we were lucky to find a book shop to occupy us for the next hour. It was a relief when she rang us to say that the ceremony would be starting shortly!

There were 7 recruits for the Navy and 2 for the Army. We, including the other families, gathered together in a meeting room, complete with a coffee machine, which had a life of it's own. It broke the ice and we got on like a house on fire with lots of laughs. Brook has already palled up with a lass from Mareeba (an hours drive from Gordonvale). This woman is probably in her early 30s and is going in as a Submariner. One other man, also in his 30s, was joining up as a Linguistic Cryptologist and he'd been accepted withing 2months of his application. The other recruits all appeared to be around Brook's age. I was glad that Brook's new friend was a mature woman, she will be able to give her motivation when training gets really tough. For the next 11 weeks we won't be able to have a lot of contact, but the Officers made it clear that Mail Call was really important to the trainees, so I'll be writing regularly.

The Ceremony started and the recruits received laminated certificates of their enlistments, which were for the families. I thought that was a lovely idea. Then the 2 Army recruits were inducted. After that the Navy guys took the oath or affirmation. Once that was over we had a few minutes for photos and then we went down to the front of the building, where the bus was waiting to take them to the airport. We had a few moments for hugs and kisses and then they were off. The Navy recruits flew to Brisbane first and then to Melbourne where they would be transported to HMAS Cerberus which is the training base. The Army recruits were to fly to Sydney and then from there to their base at Kapooka.

Rob and I went back to our hotel to pick up our luggage and the car. We got out of Townsville as fast as we could. Unfortunately there were a lot of road works on the way home, so it took us longer than we would have liked. We left at 12.30pm and reached home at 4.45pm. We have to thank Deena (daughter) for looking after the dogs while we were away. They were really pleased to see us but I suspect they are going to miss Brook, but not more than we will.

It's been lovely having had this last 20mths with Brook, I feel privilaged that she wanted to spend her time here, with us and the rest of the family. We've seen her graduate from high school, work hard at a permenant job and now make a move into the world in a career in the Australian Defence Force. We are proud of her...what ever she does.


Posted by Midus at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)