Being multilingual is a handy skill for Able Seaman Lancaster Mara to have.
CAPTION: Able Seaman Lancaster Mara casts a line from the forecastle of HMAS Launceston alongside HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin. Story by Sub-Lieutenant Nancy Cotton. Photo by Leading Seaman Shane Cameron.
The boatswain’s mate in the patrol boat HMAS Launceston is from the Umagico community in Cape York.
“My local knowledge from living in the Torres Strait has made my job easier at times when we do any work in the area as I can speak and understand Creole, so communicating with locals is easy,” Able Seaman Mara said.
Able Seaman Mara joined the Navy via the Navy Indigenous Development Program (NIDP) course 11 in 2019.
He said there was value in the NIDP and he recommended the program to others whenever he was back home.
“I am the only one from my community to have done anything like this so they are really happy for me,” Able Seaman Mara said.
“I try to get home when I can, but it’s not always easy, so I do miss family, but we stay well connected.”
His hard work on board Launceston was recently recognised when he received the Commanding Officer’s Commendation, which he described as the highlight of his career.
He was rewarded for upholding the positive culture on board and being a valued and integral member of the crew.
That positive attitude stems from his love of his job.
“I love working in a patrol boat; it’s such a good job and crew, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Able Seaman Mara said.
In a humble response to his commendation, Able Seaman Mara said he was just doing his job.
In ‘just doing his job’, he also finds the time and has the willingness to teach and mentor others on board, which is important for newer members to appreciate.
Able Seaman Mara was he was looking forward to seeing where the rollout of the new offshore patrol vessels (OPV) would take his Navy career.
“I really love the patrol boats so I am keen to transition to OPVs later on,” he said.