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Robert Johnson - Canberra

Canberra’s Robert Johnson has whipped up his own recipe for success since graduating from Wanniassa School and joining the Royal Australian Navy as a cook

As a sailor with the rank of able seaman, Robert wins the hearts and minds of the crew of HMAS Brunei, where he has been posted for the past two-years. 

Robert said his recipe for success for surviving in the Navy was adjusting to climates, because he is now based in Cairns, which was in complete contrast compared to Canberra.

"Canberra has a lot to offer, especially if you like the cold weather," he said.

"I remember the freezing temperatures, seeing snow on the mountains and feeling the fresh wind flowing through Tuggeranong Valley, straight off the off the snow.

"Living in Cairns now, I have to say that I do not miss it, but I do look forward to getting home and seeing my family."

Being a chef on a small ship is a busy job for Robert, who cooks three meals a day for each crew member, while also undertaking a variety of Navy seamanship duties.

"Being in a small, tight-knit crew has meant that I have had much more involvement with the full range of the ship’s activities, such as the boarding party and damage control party that do fire-fighting on the ship, if one breaks out," he said.

Brunei had one last adventure in October, when she participated in a search to locate the remains of WWII sailor on Guluwuru Island, approximately 650km from Darwin.

Brunei travelled to Guluwuru Island in an attempt to locate the remains of Stoker Percival Cameron, who served in the Particia Cam, which was sunk by a Japanese float-plane on January 22, 1943, near the Wessel Islands, in the Northern Territory.

Army specialists and Indigenous cultural monitors travelled to the location after researchers provided information that indicated the remains could reasonably be found.

Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in this search.

The RAN’s three remaining Landing Craft Heavy ships (HMA Ships Brunei, Labuan and Tarakan) are to be decommissioned in November 2014, when the focus of Navy’s amphibious capability will shift to the Canberra-Class Landing Helicopter Docks (LHD).

Robert said the decommissioning of the LCHs will both a sad and a proud moment for him.

"It will be sad to see the end on an era, but I am proud to be part of the celebration," he said.

"The arrival of the new LHDs is an exciting time for the Navy, but I personally look forward to staying on small boats."

After Brunei is decommissioned in November, Josh will move back to Canberra where he will take up a posting as a technical supervisor.

"I am looking forward to some shore time, and the new challenges presented working at an inland base, as well as catching up with my family," he said.