Welcome to the Website of the 17th Intake 

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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[Lest We Forget]


In October 1966, young boys, all within a twelve month age difference (151 to 161),  were recruited into the Royal Australian Navy. Starting in Brisbane,  contingents of these boys were sent on overnight train journeys down the east coast of Australia, stopping at Sydney and Melbourne before heading across the Nullabor to Perth via Adelaide.  In each capital city, the numbers swelled as each State contributed their quota to the total. 

  On arrival at HMAS Leeuwin on the 12th October 1966 the 17th Intake numbered just over 100 boys and they were divided into one of three divisions.  These divisions, in alphabetical order, of Marks, Morrow and Rhoades were to become the focal points of their lives for the next twelve months.


They were immediately issued with naval clothing (kit) which was shoved into a kitbag and carried by them, up the hill to their huts (dongas).   Some of them must have wondered what they had let themselves in for as they trudged up the hill, watching another section of junior recruits being punished by doubling (double march time) down the hill carrying their bedding (including mattress). 

As in most military organisations, the new recruits were the lowest of the low.  In this case they were called "new grubs".  Over the next twelve months, at three monthly periods, they would progress through the hierarchy to the lofty positions of "grubs", "shit" and "top shit" .

The breaking of any rules, official or unofficial, brought swift punishment.  Of the two the official punishment could sometimes be the most lenient.  Bastardisation, standover tactics, bashings, theft and harassment were daily occurrences and size did NOT matter in the majority of cases.   The Rapke Report of 1976(?) gives an incomplete idea of what occurred during the operation of the Junior Recruit Training Establishment at HMAS Leeuwin.

At the end of this twelve months, the majority who survived the rigours of this training and the harsher regime of the other junior recruits, were sent on leave prior to joining HMAS Sydney (the Vung Tau Ferry) for sea training in October 1967.  In December 1967 HMAS Sydney sailed from Sydney for Vietnam, embarking the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment in Adelaide. At the time the youngest of the boys was approximately 16 years and 9 months of age and the eldest 17 years and 9 months.



The site is nearly complete but will be further developed if we receive your contributions, they will be gratefully accepted. 

Members of the 17th (or relatives) we need your contributions.  Please send us your photographs and articles as follows:

Photographs - jpg format only please - email to webmaster

If you have hard copy photographs mail them to the webmaster with a stamped self addressed return envelope so they can be scanned and returned to you. Contact webmaster for mailing details.

All articles, reunion info, sick list and travel details to Webmaster webmaster





[Home] [JRTE] [Marks Division]  [Morrow Division]  [Rhoades Division] [Notice board] [Reunions] [Business Links] [War Service]  [Links] [Ships] [Pensions]  [Medals]
[Lest We Forget]

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Concept Paul Walshaw - Web Design Mike Brown
Copyright 2004 - 2008 Leeuwin 17th
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Last modified: October 13, 2018