Australia’s future Chief-of-Navy, Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, is no stranger to the Shepparton region.
In 2003, Rear Admiral Noonan, then commanding officer of the HMAS Parramatta, addressed the Anzac commemoration in Mooroopna.
‘‘It is you that are the Anzac spirit while we remember the Anzac legend,’’ he said on that occasion.
‘‘You are part of a growing number and you will always be in very fine company.’’
Rear Admiral Noonan wore his grandfather Eddie Maskell’s medals.
‘‘It was really uplifting to be with all the old fellas and see the young people here as well. Having the chance to wear Grandad’s medals for the first time was good,’’ he said.
Eddie Maskell served in World War II in Papua New Guinea and called Mooroopna home prior to his death in the 1990s.
Mr Maskell’s widow and Rear Admiral Noonan’s grandmother, Beryl, was a celebrated member of the Mooroopna community who passed away last year.
Mrs Maskell was honoured as a Greater Shepparton Citizen of the Year for services to the community in the 2000s.
Rear Admiral Noonan regularly visited his grandmother while stationed in Canberra according to his mother, Val Bruce, who told The News of the pride the family felt about his upcoming promotion.
The promotion comes on the back of a long, distinguished naval career beginning as a cadet midshipmen at HMAS Creswell naval base, Jervis Bay, in 1984.
A commission as the commanding officer on the HMAS Parramatta followed in 2003.
The Rear Admiral’s first daughter, Jaimie, was christened on the Parramatta and she will be given the ship’s bell when the ship is decommissioned, according to Mrs Bruce.
‘‘[Michael’s] wife is a captain in the navy, Captain Jan Noonan. She knew [about the promotion] before any of us did, because the department she works in supervises promotions,’’ Mrs Bruce said.
The couple shares another daughter, Olivia, 11.
Rear Admiral Noonan served in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan where he held a command, and served as commander in Border Force where he oversaw maritime border operations in Australian waters.
He has twice been awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service and is a member of the Order of Australia.
Promotion to Chief of Navy places Rear Admiral Noonan in the box seat to be a future Chief of Defence, with the role frequently rotating through the three armed services of air force, army and navy.
The army’s Lieutenant General Angus Campbell will in July be promoted to the Chief of Defence role, previously held by the air force’s Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.
Rear Admiral Noonan will also assume his new commission in July and will likely be promoted to vice-admiral, the traditional rank for his new position.