Magnetic Island North Queensland
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July 3rd 2012
Can our Navy Cadets survive?

Magnetic Island Navy Cadets on parade Learning real hands-on skills such as sailing or getting a powerboat license, marine engineering, and communications, gaining confidence and a sense of leadership, plus just plain old having fun, are what the Magnetic Island Navy Cadets are all about. But, right now, due to the retirement or departure of a number of staff off Magnetic, the organisation, which has helped build the lives of Islanders between the ages of 12 and 19, since 1999, may have to close due to a lack of staff (who don’t need a military background) particularly women staff.

“We can’t recruit without staff”. That’s the message we learned from retired Cadets’ Officer, Lieutenant Jim Davis, who started the Island group which has had up to 30 young young people among its ranks in better years and over 150 involved over the past 12 years.

At present, the Training Ship (TS) Magnetic Island, officially a Sub-Unit of TS Coral Sea based in South Townsville, has only 9 or 10 cadets. According to Jim Davis, the problem, stems from a number of former long-term staff leaving the Island.

The Unit now have only 2 appointed staff and one Unit Support Volunteer (USV) who have been with the cadet unit for over 5 years. Staff members to replace the staff who are retiring, or who are due to retire, are urgently required to ensure that the Magnetic Island ANC Unit continues operating.

At this year’s annual inspection Jim, who is helping with publicity, learned from senior officers that, without more staff, the Island unit would be, ‘virtually unviable’.

A major factor is the need to include at least one woman amongst the staff for the group which has seen many girls gain great life skills.

“It would be a very sad occasion should the Unit have to close down after all the work that so many put in to making it the success it was. In 2010 the Magnetic Island Navy Cadet Unit was judged as the Best Unit in North Queensland.

”It’s not recruiting for the navy but youth development sponsored by the navy. Only about 1 in 100 cadets actually go on to join the navy," said Jim Davis.

Staff are appointed by the Director Australian Navy Cadets after undergoing interviews, police checks and a psychological assessment of their suitability to work with young people. In addition voluntary staff may be appointed for specific duties by Senior ANC Officers and full training is provided.

To become a Navy Cadet you need to be between the ages of 12.5 years and 19 years old, be a permanent resident of Australia and assessed medically fit to Australian Naval cadet standards.

ANC Training Ships are required to have a Unit Committee. This committee is made up of the parents of cadets and other interested people from the community. The main role is to provide and maintain facilities and equipment not supplied by the Navy. The Unit is also recruiting volunteers for Unit Committee.

Anyone interested in taking part in this exciting activity and wish to find out more about Navy Cadets and how to join can contact the CO of TS Coral Sea, LEUT John Osborne, 0412 724 141, or Magnetic Island Sub-unit OIC, Robert Allan, on 0408 005 830.

To learn more about Magnetic Islands’ Navy Cadets we suggest readers use our search engine box at the top left corner of our front page and enter “cadets” (no inverted commas) and explore the stories we have reported on them over the years.

Story and photo: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Can our Navy Cadets survive?
Daniel Daniel
July 7th 2012
I must say how sad it was to read that the Naval Cadet unit on Magnetic Island may have to close down due to lack of staff.
However I must correct the original story printed, where it said that Lieutenant Jim Davis started the unit known as TS Magnetic island.
I wish to seperate fact from fiction.
The fact is that I, Chief petty Officer Daniel Daniel, who asssisted in starting a Naval Cadet unit in Dampier WA, eventually came to Magnetic Island in 1998.I made contact with TS Coral Sea in Townsville, and made it known that I was available to act as an Instructor for their unit.
They accepted that offer. One day I received a phone call from the Officer In Charge, and I was asked if I would be prepared to start a unit over on Magnetic Island, and if I was, Jim Davis was prepared to assist me in this. I met up with Jim, and we discussed it, and we decided to go ahead and do it.I put my Naval uniform on, and Jim and I went to the MI Primary school, and we had a talk with the prospective cadets. We then had a meeting with parents who would form the Parents Committee, and also to draw up a roster of parents who would take the cadets home after the parade finished at 9pm (2100hours)on a Monday. As I was the only adult there who had the applicable marine qualifications to teach boat handling etc. I was responsible for the vast majority of the cadets training.
Jim Davis was the Officer In Charge,which is mainly a ceremonial roll, and he attended many of the parades as well.
Towards the end, at the end of the parades, there would be no parents to take the cadets home, and that was also left up to me to get them homeas well.
I couldn't very well leave them there at that time of night. I was a bit jaded by then as well, as I had been driving a public bus since 0500 hours that morning as well.I also did a lot of cadet work at home as well, getting lessons and equipment ready, and also organising cadets a place on the Queensland Sail Training ship. I was quite disappointed to read that I had received no recognition at all for all of the hours that I had put in training the cadets.
If I had not agreed to start the unit originally, there would possibly have been no Naval Cadet unit on the island. I really feel that I was never there, never part of the unit and that is just not true.
Amanda ward
March 4th 2013
I'm an old cadet (1995 to 1997) of ts dampier where Daniel Daniel was our P.O and a great teacher and story teller
He deserves to be credited for all his hard work in building the magnetic island cadets
I would also like to thank him for the reference he wrote for me prior to my leaving dampier
I have manny fond memory's of dampier and manny of them include Daniel Daniel and John Lally and the cadet unit
I hope the magnetic island finds away to continue running a cadet unit and provide manny young people with the same life skills and confidence it gave me not to mention the fond memories.
Thank you P.O Daniel Daniel
From Amanda ward

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