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Naval Association of Australia
Nepean Blue Mountains Sub-Section


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Citation in support of the Award of the Meritorious Service Medal
to
Colin (Irish) Francis O'Flynn


Colin resigned from the Royal Australian Navy after having served over 23 years and immediately joined the Naval Association of Australia on 8th of November 1977, becoming a member of Nepean Blue Mountains Sub-Section. During his 36 years as a member, Colin has been actively involved in the activities of the Nepean-Blue Mountains Sub-Branch and promoting the Naval Association of Australia and the Nepean Sub-Section to the community at large.

He was elected to the Executive of the Sub-Section in 1989.

Colin has held the following positions:-

             President: 1989 - 1990: 2003 - 2008
             Chairman of the Executive Committee: 1989 - 1990: 2003 - 2008.
             Vice President: 1991 - 1993: 1996 - 2003: 2008 - to the present [At time of nomination.]
             Committee member: 1979 - 1988: 1989 - 1993: 1996 - to the present [At time of nomination.]
             Welfare Officer: 1994 - to the present [At time of nomination.]
             Publicity Officer: 1980 - 1981
             Social Committee: 1979 -2006
             Member Building Committee: 1983 - to the present [At time of nomination.]
             President Building Committee: 1999 - 2008
             Recruiting Officer: 1980 - 1986
             State Delegate: 2001-2004
             Alternate Delegate: 1979 - 1987: 1996 - 2000: 2005 - 2008:

Colin received the following Association and Sub-Section Awards:

             Certificates of Appreciation: 1980 & 1986

             Diploma of Merit: 21st September 1988

He was granted Life Membership of the Naval Association of Australia on 13th February 1999.

He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of the Naval Association of Australia on 8th April 2014.

In 1977 he proposed and had passed by the Sub-Section membership to form a Penrith cadet unit to promote interest in the Navy and support the youth of the area. He undertook research into the various requirements needed to implement and support a cadet unit.

He wrote to various organisations and bodies as well as personally contacting the NRC Sydney Command who indicated that it was essential to have a parade ground, the use of a building and be close to the water.

Having established the requirements, Colin then entered into negotiations with the Officer in Command RAN Armament Depot - Kingswood, for the use of a building and the Parade Ground on Saturdays, as a temporary measure until a permanent home could be established near the Nepean River.

Having reported back to the Sub-Section on the progress of investigations, a Steering Committee was formed, headed by Colin, to begin, in earnest, organising the formation of a local cadet unit.

The Committee organised speaking engagements at schools in the area, making known the intention to establish a cadet unit and requesting those interested to volunteer.

A formal signing on of volunteers was held in 1979 at the Penrith Police Boys Club and in attendance was the State Member for Penrith, Councillors and members of the local press to witness this historic occasion to witness the first cadet name and signature.

Seventy Five cadets and ten instructors were signed on that day.

The group were not formally recognised by the NRC as not all their requirements had been implemented, so Sub-Section was approached to supply a "summer uniform" for the cadets as well as transport. The Sub-Section undertook to supply blue T-Shirts and black shorts and members undertook to form a car pool to transport the cadets to the Armament Depot from both Kingswood and Penrith stations.

Colin, who was now fully engaged in the cadet movement, organised the various training programs for each parade.

He also arranged with St Marys and Penrith Councils and RSLs for the cadets to march as "Nepean Cadets" on Australia Day and in other festivals and parades. This not only promoted the Cadets within the community but also drew attention to the work of the Naval Association and Nepean Sub-Section.

The cadets still required a "home" with land and a building in close proximity to the water: Colin having got the cadets "up and running" now turned his attention to these matters and began lobbying members of Penrith Council.

Towards the end of 1980, Nepean Sub-Section was granted the lease of a block of land near the Nepean River and at about the same time the cadets moved into the Old Pumping Station also near the river.

The NRC Command (NSW-ACT) now recognised the cadet unit and a new Commanding Officer took over TS Nepean Naval Cadets.

The Steering Committee, having completed its assignment, Nepean Sub-Section members now formed a Building Committee, *ihich included Colin and some of the Steering Committee, with the express purpose of erecting a building for the cadets on the land leased from Penrith Council. Colin continued his lobbying of Penrith Councillors for a contribution towards the cost of the building and while initially declining to contribute, it was agreed a donation towards the cost would be forth coming if the State Government would match them dollar for dollar.

This presented a new challenge to Colin and the committee, who now started negotiations with the local State Member and it was agreed the State Government would match the Council's donation.

The Federal Member was then also approached for a contribution, who advised that Federal money was allocated to the Defence Department and suggested the funds Nepean required should come from the community. Letters were then written to local area and other clubs seeking support; while some donations were received it was not enough to commence building construction.

The Nepean Sub-Section was then approached for an additional contribution and after much discussion some money was forthcoming. During this time Colin and other Nepean members gave of their time to sell Lucky Envelopes at local railway stations and Penrith Paceway to raise the balance of funds needed for the building.

Eventually with the help from Nepean members and the TS Nepean Cadet Unit Parent Committee Volunteers, the building was erected and finally opened in 1983 by FOCEA ADM Horton.

In order to produce funds to help maintain the building, Colin and his team would hire it out to private schools, rowing clubs and state rowing, when not in use by the cadets. He also helped in arranging the lease of the building, now known as the Nepean Naval Centre/Museum, to National Area Disability Organisation (NADO) following the departure of TS Nepean Cadets to Orchid Hills.

Colin has also been involved in numerous Nepean Blue Mountains Sub-Section activities, he has assisted on several occasions to organise the Penrith Paceway Naval Evening which produces funds for the Sub-Section; he organised three NSW State Conferences sponsored by the Nepean Blue Mountains Sub-Section and held at the Penrith RSL Club, the conferences highlighted the Naval Association and NSW State Section within the local community.

On the occasion of the Navy's 75th Anniversary, he supported the Association by becoming involved in celebrations and chauffeuring some of the visiting sailors around the Nepean area and touring the Blue Mountains.

During his time as Welfare Officer he has worked tirelessly to ensure that his shipmates who were not one hundred per cent were contacted on a regular basis and anything they needed was made available. Sub-Section members were continually kept informed on their shipmate's progress by Colin's "Welfare Report" at each Monthly meeting.

When a shipmate "crossed the bar" it was Colin who, as Welfare Officer, ensured that the appropriate Ensign and Naval Eulogy were available at the funeral and gladly accepted the duty of reading the Eulogy and presenting a copy of same and the flag to the family members.

At Nepean Blue Mountains Christmas functions he has appeared as Santa to the delight of member's children and grandchildren.

Colin has continually promoted awareness the Naval Association within the Penrith and surrounding communities as well as to elected representatives in Council through the St Vincent de Paul Society, State and Federal representatives. He has also devoted an extraordinary amount of time to the welfare of Association members and shipmates over many years.