2022 Sydney Annual Lunch

14 Oct 2022

2022 Sydney Annual Lunch: HMAS WATSON - Post Action Report

The annual lunch for Sydney members of the NWOA was held this year on 14th October at HMAS Watson. In addition to being able to enjoy the hospitality and harbour views of the wardroom once again, its primary focus was for members to receive a maritime warfare officer training update.

The update brief was delivered by CAPT Heath Robertson, Commanding Officer and Maritime Warfare Training Authority. He described at the outset how motivation for change for him was to abolish the high attrition rate of Maritime Warfare Officers during training. This was achieved by ensuring every junior officer was afforded an opportunity to optimise their learning potential and their contribution to Navy, no matter how each processed information and solved problems.

Changes to training were multi-faceted. They included both structural and environmental modifications. In simple terms, trainees received more individualised training schedules that fast-tracked training progression for some and afforded additional training time for others. To assist instructors and trainees be the best versions of themselves, performance coaching was expanded to the entire Warfare Officer training program. A key outcome was development of the perception by trainees that their instructors were ‘springboards’ to be openly used for performance improvement, rather than barriers to advancement from whom weaknesses should be hidden.

The numbers being trained are large and growing. The number of Maritime Warfare Officers to be trained is increasing whilst the capacity and battle rhythm of the Fleet to train them is reducing. To that end, the use of simulators continues to evolve and expand nationally. Most importantly, the quality and dedication of those joining to serve is outstanding.

After a most informative briefing by Captain Heath Robertson, and a tour of the massive upgrade works currently in progress at WATSON, members retired to the Mess where many fine memories were rekindled whilst enjoying the view from the famous balcony. The following selection of photos (blame Doug Stevens) provides a good summary of the day.

TAMW Crest

Captain Heath Roberston - CO WATSON and Training Authority Maritime Warfare

NWOA President - Tony Flint

Andy Mackinnon

Dick Francis

Ladies Who Lunch

Bar Boys

Bar Boys2

Jim Stapleton, Mike Stock, Pete Stehn, Dhoby Newman

Base Upgrade Briefing by CMDR Aaron Scott

Base Upgrade Briefing by CMDR Aaron Scott_2

Base Upgrade Briefing-Chapel

Heath Robertson&Dave Cunningham

Settling In

John Newman and Mike Webster

Steve Hooke and Tony Flint

Kit Morgan and John Hazell

Alan Johnston and Steve Duffy

Paul Summers and Geoff Geraghty

2022 Sydney NWOA Annual Lunch - Arrangements

The 2022 Sydney NWOA Annual Lunch will be held on Friday 14 October 2022 at HMAS WATSON. The event will consist of a mid-morning presentation by Captain Heath Robertson, NWOA Committee member and the current Director of Maritime Warfare Training, on the enormous change taking place in professional warfare training, the scope and detail of which few members will be aware. After the briefing, members will have the chance to see the massive redevelopment taking place at WATSON.

The presentation/ base tour will be followed by participation in the Wardroom’s end of month buffet where WATSON has kindly agreed to set aside sufficient tables for NWOA attendees. Wives and partners are most welcome to attend.

Previously, we asked members to indicate whether they would attend, and we have had sufficient positive responses for it to proceed. The program for this event has now been confirmed as follows:


10:15 Attendees muster at the Watson’s Bay Ferry Wharf. To ease access to the base, a guest list will be provided to the security staff beforehand but members should also bring their Retired List ID cards if they have them. WATSON will provide an 8-seat van to do shuttle runs Watson’s Bay Ferry Wharf up the hill to the Navy Synthetic Warfighting Center (NSWC) Auditorium in the Ritchie Building.

10:30 - 11:00 – Refreshments on arrival.

1100-1145 - Presentation by CAPT Robertson, CSC, HADC, RAN – CO/Director of Maritime Warfare Training in the NSWC Auditorium.

1145 -1215 Move to the Wardroom/Tour the base with XO Watson & DDTAMW. (WATSON is also holding a Families Day concurrently so there will be plenty of people around). XO WATSON & DDTAMW will provide an overview of the new construction, as well as the next stages of this massive redevelopment.

12:00 - 15:00 (approx) Buffet Lunch – NWOA reserved tables

  1. Event concludes


WATSON is holding a Families Day on 14 October and, together with the amount of construction taking place, these factors will preclude on-base parking for NWOA members. The option of a return coach service to/ from the city did not receive sufficient interest to make it worthwhile so members may either drive and park outside the base or travel by public transport. There is usually adequate public parking available in the local area but obviously this cannot be guaranteed. Fortunately, Watsons Bay is reasonably well served by public transport .

For those travelling from the City/ North Shore, the ferry service is a great way to arrive and depart and the service operates on a half hourly schedule to and from Circular Quay. The first ferry from Circular Quay departs at 09:45 and arrives at Watson’s Bay Ferry Wharf at 10:08. CircQuay Watsons Bay Ferry Timetable. 324 & 325 buses leave from behind Wynyard Station in York St (the 08:55, 09:06 & 09:17 services are relevant).

To take advantage of WATSON’s mini-bus shuttle service to the base, those arriving car, bus or ferry, please time your arrival to tie in with the first pick-up which will depart from Watson’s Bay Wharf at 10:15.

On completion of the lunch, the first minibus service to the ferry wharf will depart the Wardroom at 14:50 and thence as required. It is suggested that those who have arrived by bus or private vehicle, also utilise this service to make their way down to Watsons Bay. Ferries depart at 15/45 minutes after the hour, the last one at 16:15.


Smart casual, ties optional.

Lunch Arrangements

Tables will be set aside for the NWOA. Payment for lunch ($30) can be made in cash or EFTPOS as you go to the buffet. Steward service is available at the table for water/soft drinks/coffee and beer/ wine /spirits can be purchase from the bar as required.


The lunch has now been created as an Event on the Association website (with a Zero ticket price). Members wishing to attend (including those who have already indicated their intention to attend) are requested to RSVP via the website by selecting the number of tickets required (yourself plus any guests at zero cost). After making the booking, if you are bringing a guest (s), you will need to insert their names subsequently after making the booking. We need you to do this to create an attendance list which will be provided to WATSON to secure your access to the base. Anyone who has any problem in this regard should advise the event coordinator, Simon Glastonbury ([email protected]), who will provide assistance.