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While I was flat on my back, sick and feeling sorry for myself last Sunday morning I turned the radio on for a VERY short time. Ian McNamara played an interview with Kylie and Wesley Herron who were special guests at the launching of a new Royal Australian Navy vessel the patrol boat HMAS Wollongong. Lt Commander Herron was a commanding officer of the former HMAS Wollongong which had been decommissioned last year. Macca asked Commander Herron what his hopes were for the new Wollongong. He said that he hoped the new boat could carry on the tradition of earlier Wollongongs which were known for their spirit and heart. They were both renowned for being happy ships. Without this spirit, he said, these boats were only hulls.


I expect the sort of happiness that Commander Herron was speaking about was not the cruise ship happiness. Wollongong I saw action in WWII and Wollongong II was involved in patrolling Australia’s northern shores and intercepting those trying to enter the country illegally. No, he meant something much deeper. The sort of spirit that was most evident not when things were calm and peaceful but when things were rough. The sort of spirit that emerges in tough times when those involved know they are doing the right thing, are doing their best and trust those who are with them.