February 21, 2019
The South Burnett may have never had a submarine fleet to call its own but Bill Clayton is quietly confident there are submariners living in the region.
Bill is the president of the Queensland branch of the Australian Submarine Association (ASA).
He spent three days exploring the South Burnett recently along with fellow submariners, their partners and families – all up about 80 people.
The ASA is a not-for-profit group that aims to foster the unique esprit de corps of the submarine service.
Its membership is open to all submariners, regardless of the navy they served in, and the Queensland branch is part of a wider national network.
Bill said the group normally holds its meetings in Brisbane but sometimes they travel to regional areas to allow country members to join in.
This gives them the chance to explore new places, build relationships and enjoy the camaraderie of other retired and serving personnel from all branches of Australia’s Defence Forces.
The group travelled to Kingaroy last weekend to explore the South Burnett and meet other local ex-servicemen and women.
Bill said because of the unique situations submariners found themselves in – living in cramped quarters below the ocean for weeks or months at a time – there was no such word as an “ex-submariner”.
“We are all submariners, regardless of how long ago we retired from active service,” he said.
Bill also believed submariners can be found in most towns in Australia.
In fact, he thought it was likely there would be several living in the South Burnett right now.
The ASA’s visit was hosted by the Kingaroy-Memerambi RSL Sub-Branch.
On Saturday night, the group was welcomed by Mayor Keith Campbell, at a special dinner held in the Kingaroy RSL Club’s White Room.