Australian submariners continue a fine tradition of service that began 106 years ago, within the first 20 years of any navy commissioning submarines. The first boats — HMAS AE1 & AE2 — went to sea in 1914. They were followed by the six J Class boats (1919–26) and the two Odin Class boats HMAS Oxley and Otway (1927–31).
However, it was with the Oberon Class from 1967 that Australia developed an impressive reputation for very long-range operations — a national capability that led to the first Australian-built boats, the Collins Class. These submarines proudly and regularly surpass world-class standards of performance.
Submariners are part of something greater than most people can ever imagine. At sea, whether in peace or war, they prove each other every day by the direct test of working in a dangerous environment — they act, think, and endure as one. Ashore, in uniform or retired, they are never far away — in industry, in logistics, in training or simply continuing to enjoy the unique ‘esprit de corps’ and to look after each other. They remain, as always, ‘buddies in boats’ — the Submarines Association Australia (SAA).
The Submarines Association Australia (SAA) SAA is an ex-service organisation formed to unite former and serving submariners for the purpose of mutual support whether that be social activities, welfare, medical and pensions support or advocacy in all matters pertaining to the health and welfare of submariners. It takes a submariner to understand the work environment of service in submarines, so it follows that the SAA is well placed to ensure authorities hear a strong, informed voice whenever there are matters of concern to some or all submariners.
The SAA has had many successes regarding liabilities for service-related injury. It maintains trained Pension and Welfare Officers to assist those who have served or are serving in getting pension and compensation entitlements. It also has a charitable trust to assist those members in need of medical treatment, accommodation and social or community support. It liaises with and/or assists kindred organisations with similar aims and interests.
See Submarines Association Australia and contact the national or branch secretaries using the information on the website. Learn more about true submariners’ interaction in the ‘Up Periscope’ section.