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Learning the ropes


In 1921 the Navy League established a cadet training unit for boys at Drummoyne, under the leadership of Arnold Mellor. Despite a promising start, by 1928 it was at a low ebb with ‘only 16 cadets, a portion of a boat shed and three battered old boats’. The following year leadership passed to Leonard E. Forsythe who envisaged the depot becoming a living memorial to the HMAS Sydney, renaming it the Sydney Training Depot. Soon numbers had increased to 70 cadets.

In 1932 due to the costs of maintaining the depot at Drummoyne it moved to Snapper Island. The cadets, mostly aged under 15, were largely responsible for transforming Snapper Island into the shape and design of a training ship. The boys constructed a wharf, several buildings and a sea wall around the island.

Local Studies recently received a donation of photographs from Valerie Imrie whose brother Arthur Parton was involved in the Navy League. Valerie wanted the photographs to be shared with the community through Canada Bay Connections.