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12 June 2017

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A Star News Group Publication

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Edwards and McMaster join list of Vic's elite young talent

■ Time in the Navy showed Gordon how to help others…

Shipshape mates By Casey Neill Following a mate into the Navy changed Gordon Murray’s life in ways he could never have imagined. The Noble Park resident received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Monday 12 June for his service to veterans and their families. “I don’t want awards,” he said. “My peers have put me in for that award. “If they think I’m worthy then I’ll accept it, but I’ll accept it on behalf of the veterans down at the RSLs, (wife) Lynette and Vernon.” Vernon is his guide dog of seven years. Mr Murray’s nine years in the Navy started to claim his sight in the 1970s. “I was the Indonesian confrontation and the Vietnam War,” he said. “I patrolled the Far East on minesweepers and frigates. I was called an able seaman weapons mechanic. “My specialty was gunner’s yeoman. I was in charge of all small arms and storing and handling of all explosives.” He left the service in 1971. “Come ’95 I was classified legally blind by Veterans’ Affairs,” Mr Murray said. “It’s a blood-related thing from the services. “It could be chemicals, they don’t know. “I see outlines. I don’t see shadows.” He’d been a Noble Park RSL member since 1973 and couldn’t speak highly enough of his peers, particularly now-president John Meehan, for their support as he came to terms with the diagnosis. “That’s why I joined the committee,” he said. That was in 1995. He became vice president the following year and president in 1999, a position he held for 13 years. “I helped to start the welfare and pension office,” he said. “They’re known all over Australia for the work they do. “If anyone wants to see what mateship is, come down to Noble Park RSL on a Thursday and see what we’ve built up there. “I’m in no official capacity now but I help out when I can.” He said his condition didn’t tarnish his time in the Navy. “I learned a lot about mateship,” he said. “That’s where you learn to live, when you’re at sea with blokes for three months at a time. “On the minesweeper there’s only 25 blokes. “They become your mother, your father, your sister - they become your best buddies.” It was a buddy joining the Navy at age 17 in

OAM recipient Gordon Murray at his Noble Park home. 1962 that prompted Mr Murray to serve his country. He’d moved to Noble Park in 1956 at age 12 from Temora, a small town in country New South Wales. He was a foundation student at Noble Park Technical College, achieved a junior techni-

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cal certificate and left to become a metal spinner. “Much to my father’s disgust I gave it up,” he said. “I ended up becoming a junior postal officer.” Then he signed up for the Navy. “In the meantime I’d met Lynette at the age of 16,” he said. “My first trip overseas for 12 months, our letters

crossed paths. We started writing in the same week. “We got married in Noble Park in 1965.” After finishing his service he worked in swimming pools and at Sandown Racecourse, and volunteered in lifesaving, scouts and more. “Volunteering just came naturally to me,” he said. “You’ve got to look after your mates.”

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1 DANDENONG JOURNAL Monday, 12 June, 2017

Dandenong Journal Star - 12th June 2017