Ever thought you would have 18 strangers singing happy birthday and sharing a Pavlova on a naval base? We didn’t.

The Women in Leadership Camp, held on Garden Island (HMAS Stirling) from the 3rd to 5th of October was an amazing, inspiring and informative 3 day camp. From the very start the air hummed with excitement and uncertain expectations. Though we had only just met the other 18 girls, we were thrown into all types of leadership challenges, trust and team-building exercises resulting is a very giggly, friendly environment.

We went from snacking on biscuits in a bus to dinning in the officer mess halls eating mountains of hearty food and talking to numerous Navy personal of all ranks and roles and their interesting, adventurous lifestyles within the Australian Defence force. Over the 3 days we were privileged to multiple tours of their ‘state of the art’ facilities such as their 20 meter deep submarine escape training pool, warfare simulation room, engineering headquarters, safety school and their simulated firing range. We were also fortunate enough to be taken on one of their Armidale class patrol boats named Launceston (which was one of the highlights) as well as in one of their Collin class submarines which was also pretty amazing.

As well as receiving multiple informative tours and talks, we were put through our paces, the organisers testing our fitness, taking us on a 15km ride at 06:00 and then later slaughtering the 20 of us with the beloved beep test. It was made clear that exercise and fitness is a definite requirement.

Overall highlights of the camp were probably exploring the patrol boat, touring the submarine but also meeting a diverse group of sailors and officers and leaning about their recruitment process and their exciting experiences in the navy. It was amazing how much we learnt just from talking to all the different personal that were available and keen to talk to us, especially the women who had families as well as successful careers; truly a valuable insight when considering to join the Defence force.

It was an awesome camp and we would recommend it to anyone who was considering a career in any of the 3 defence forces or who is wanting to gain experience and knowledge and is open to meeting interesting people, ‘friends’ and having a lot of fun. The organisers were amazing and it was a massive privilege to be able to be residents on the Stirling base for an epic 3 days.


Kate and Tess Mann
Yr 11 students of 2017