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HMAS Leeuwin - Junior Recruit Training Establishment  

October 1966 to October 1967

This website is dedicated to Michael John BROWN who passed away 3 December 2006
Mike did an enormous amount of work to make this site a reality

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John Charles PAYNE

Official No: R95769 Aged: 15 years 9 months Joined: 12th October 1966
Division: Morrow Home Port: Perth Discharged: December 1973

ME (Stoker)

Postings: Leeuwin, Sydney, Cerberus, Anzac, Oxley, Otway and Ovens
Notes: Training Consultant in Emergency Evacuation procedures with a Company called TRIMEVAC
Current Occupation:  
1966 today
After our stint on the Sydney, only three trips for me, drafted to Anzac with Jack Crane after our Stoker's course.  Iím sure this ship was part of the P&O line, as we didnít get out of the south pacific while I was on it.

Wanted off this tub and tried to talk Jack into applying for Subs, he declined, so I did alone and the rest is history.  Went to the UK for a few months then back to Platypus.  By this time P&O were into the RAN, back to the South Pacific, what a drag, I joined the Navy to see the world?  Free discharge in Xmas 73 due to the new Labour Government at the time, I think they wanted to down size the services to keep election promises.

In the mean time prior leaving the service, married Melba in 1970, the love of my life who Bernie Davis introduced me to, 'thanks Bernie'.  We had our first in the December 71, child that is, she is now 32 and has two children of her own, Kirsten 10 and Alex 8.  Like some of you, our kids divorce and remarry, as Nicole has, and another grandchild is on the way.

Now our other child, Mathew is 29 and works for State Transit, yes, as a stoker or a little more qualified, a mechanic.  He lives with a couple of mates in town and has a steady girl friend, no grand children in this relation ship yet.

OK, now let me remember what has been happening over the past 38 years, on reflection it only seems like yesterday when a group of young kids were waiting outside the recruitment office in Perth to be transported to Leeuwin.  Anyway, we all got up to no good even managed to get a drink, donít forget the drinking age in W. A. was 21, many of the eastern state boys had been into it for a while as the age was 18 and some of you looked the part.  D. J. liked a drink, so much so he went over the fence to get a kit bag of grog that we, or some of us put in a few $'s for.  We got caught, some one found out and sprung us, I still think it was a set up.  D. J. took the wrap and got 2 & 2, I got 14 days 9's and I can't remember who else got busted with us, let me know if any of you can remember.  In the main they were good times, who would want to remember the bad ones.

Any way lets move on its bringing tears to my eyes, who said I wasnít sentimental.

When I left the Navy in 73, I thought I was the most, that is, I went back to Perth with Melba and Nicole and applied for every managing Directors job going, however they could not see the potential in my vast experience so I had to settle for a job as a cleaner in a pub.  I worked my way up through the ranks to the cellarman and then barman.  After a few months of this I came to the conclusion that working in a pub would only destroy our marriage and me.

We headed back to Sydney Town and stayed with Melba's Mum and Dad for a while until we got a place of our own.  Melba's Dad got me a job at Cable Makers in Liverpool where I worked for 12 months as a labourer in the foam processing section.  

Then one day, I ran into Bernie Davis who was working at the airport as a Fire Fighter.  He gave me the information I needed and organised an interview.  Thanks to Bernie (again), I was on the path to a career in Aviation Fire fighting. After about 10 years or so I moved on to the Department of Main Roads as their Fire and Dangerous Goods Officer, what a job, but all good things come to and end, the D. M. R.  regionalised and the position was no longer, however I was able to get a position as the Central Regions Safety Officer.  This wasnít my cuppa, so I responded to an ad for a position as a Training Co-ordinator with a risk management company setting up a new section involving emergency evacuation procedures.  After six years of this, went to a few other companies doing the same type of work, five years later, landed back where I started at Trime-vac and Iím still there, for how much longer I donít know.

Melba and I are now living in Culburra Beach, 20 km east of Nowra, however we rent a flat from our daughter Nicole, and spend the week in Greystanes and go back down the coast every weekend.  Melba works at Liverpool Council and intends to give it up next July, by that time I should know my fate.  Like a lot of you, I put in a claim to Veteran Affairs, however only got 60%, appealed and was granted 80%.  I was knocked back on PTSD and Grog abuse, but my hearing is shot and I got a little for anxiety.  I recently changed advocates and am still trying.

Well Iím lost for any more information at this time however I would like to thank Butch and Sandy for the BBQ and the chance to meet with some of you prior to the last reunion.  I did remember some of you, and to those of you I could not, well, we all get old and I apologise.  By the way, I was a bit quiet and didnít mix all that well, with this hearing loss of mine, taking Lovan and off the grog I have an excuse, however I've now got aids (hearing that is), still on Lovan and back on the grog, but I feel good.

I am looking forward to the next reunion on the Gold Coast and given weíll have a few days to bond together, should be exciting.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the team responsible for the 17 web site and the planning committee, well done.


Personal photographs



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