- Letter Writer
- History - WW2, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Warramunga I, HMAS Warramunga II
- March 1996 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
The following correspondence is self-explanatory. It is believed that the decision for the visit of the “Elders” of The Warramunga Veterans Association to Tennant Creek was made after the South Australian branch wrote to the Chief of Naval Staff lodging an objection to the use of battle honours and the badge of “Warramunga”on a ship not designated Warramunga. An approach was made to The Minister for Defence who agreed that if the tribal elders written permission to use the old spelling was obtained, he would take the matter up with the Governor-General. This he did after the tribal elders gave their consent. The H.M.A.S. “WARRAMUNGA” Veterans’ Association has kindly consented to our use of the correspondence.
As the society would be well aware, our association has been trying to have the spelling of NUSHIP 5 altered from WARUMUNGA to the original Tribal name given to the second “Tribal Class” destroyer built at Cockatoo Dockyard and commissioned in 1942, WARRAMUNGA.
The current Naval Support Commander, Rear Admiral David Campbell opened the door recently, which allowed our association to have talks with the WARUMUNGA Elders and people, to obtain their written permission to use their old tribal spelling for the new Anzac Frigate. Our President and myself went to Tennant Creek last July and held talks with them and we are pleased to advise you that they did agree for the use of WARRAMUNGA.
A copy of a letter written by our President to the CNS after we returned, a copy of the tribal Elders agreement and a copy of a letter to our members is enclosed for the Society’s information.
S.T. Whyte (Hon Secretary)
HMAS WARRAMUNGA VETERANS’ ASSOCIATION NSW BRANCH
Vice Admiral R.G. Taylor AO
Chief of Naval Staff
Department of Defence (Navy)
CANBERRA ACT 2600
As indicated in my letter of 3rd May 1995, a meeting between the HMAS Warramunga Veterans Association and the Warumunga people was scheduled to be held in Tennant Creek on 28th July.
Being nominated Senior Elder of the HMAS Warramunga Veterans Association (Australia) I visited Tennant Creek between 26th and 29th July. Mr Sam Whyte, also nominated as a Veteran elder of our association, accompanied me to participate in these Elder to Elder discussions. Before our talks with the Warumunga people. we had discussions with David Curtis, an educated Aboriginal who is co-ordinator of the Julalikri Council and also an Alderman of the Tennant Creek Town Council. Whilst not one of the Warumungu people, Mr Curtis exerts considerable influence in the area and in essence acted as our main link with the Warumungu people. We also met with the Mayor and six other Aldermen for discussion on our visit on the 27th July. Our meeting was held in the town Civic Centre, which the Council had given permission to use. On 28th July Mr. Whyte and I gave a presentation to a representative gathering of the Warumungu people. Whilst scheduled to begin at 1030, those who attended drifted in over a period of 45 minutes or so. This casual approach was distinctly to our advantage as it enabled us to have preliminary talks with the various individuals.
We were fortunate in having at least three particularly influential Elders in attendance, all of whom possessed an educational background. They included Mr. Ross Williams, who is manager of the Barkley Region Language Centre, Mr. Billy Hayes, a 72 year old ex-serviceman who had travelled some 100 miles to attend and Mr. Ted Plummer a highly revered Elder, accompanied by three of his sons and two daughters, one of whom acted as interpreter. Several other members of the tribe were also present.
Also in attendance as observer were Mr. Alf Chittock OAM, former long serving Mayor and long time influential member of the community, Mr. Chittock having signed the letter as witness; Mr. Frank Sanderson, our man in Tennant Creek, who served on all the three Tribals and is owner of the local hardware store; and Mrs Karen Thompson, assistant principal of the primary School, whose late father also served on Warramunga. Our presentation, over some 45 minutes, included a background of the Tribal class destroyers as a whole with particular reference to the choice of Arunta and Warramunga, and was given with a backdrop of our World War II and Korean War banners.