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Royal Australian Naval uniform jacket of Commander Robert James Varley

Date: September 1958
Overall (laid flat): 700 x 715 x 60 mm
Medium: Fabric, braid, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mrs Rosemary Varley
Object Name: Jacket
Object No: 00045507

User Terms

    Naval officer's dinner jacket made for Robert Varley in 1958 by renowned English tailors Gieves Ltd. With strong early associations to the naval centre of Portsmouth, Gieves has been making uniforms for naval officers for over 200 years. The company now trades as Gieves & Hawkes at No.1 Savile Row, London.

    SignificanceCommander Robert Varley served in the RAN from 1953 until the early 1980s. His uniforms are of significance and particular interest to the Museum, because when presented as a collection they chart the career progression of Robert Varley from the position of Cadet Midshipman in 1953 to Commander in 1975.
    HistoryHighlights of Robert Varleys' career include his time assigned to HMAS YARRA when he was involved in the Far East Strategic Reserve Deployment, this included participating in escort duty to Vietnam. He also was serving in HMAS HOBART when the ship came under fire from North Vietnamese shore batteries on three occasions. The vessel was fired on by United States Air Force aircraft on 17 June 1968, two sailors were killed and a number of others were injured.

    He played a key role in the Exercise RIMPAC deployment to Hawaii and the ANZUK Force deployment to South East Asia from August until November 1972.

    Commander Varley participated in Exercise Rimpac deployment to Hawaii which took place from February to April 1980. He was also involved in the North West Indian Ocean deployment from September to December 1980 and the South East Asian deployment from May to July 1981.

    Naval Career (as given by the Varley family)
    Jan 1953 - Joined RAN as a Cadet Midshipman - Flinders Naval base.
    1957 - Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
    1958 - HMAS MELBOURNE - Acting Sub-Lieutenant.
    March 1959 - University of Melbourne - gained degree in Electrical Engineering - promoted to Lieutenant.
    Oct 1963 - HMS MANADON, Plymouth, UK.
    March 1965 - RAN Trials Unit.
    Oct 1965 - Jan 1967 - Deputy Weapons Electrical Engineer Officer HMAS YARRA.
    July 1967 - Dec 1968 - HMAS HOBART including seven months off Vietnam.
    Dec 1968 - Oct 1969 - Officer in Charge, Planned Maintenance Section, Directorate of Fleet Maintenance.
    Oct 1969 - Dec 1971 - Staff Officer (Weapons Electrical) to Australian Naval Attache, Washington.
    Dec 1971 - Feb 1974 - Weapons Electrical Officer, HMAS BRISBANE.
    Feb 1974 - March 1975 - RAN Trials Unit; promoted to Commander.
    March 1976 - Sept 1976 - Director of Fleet Maintenance (Weapons).
    Sept 1976 - Dec 1978 - Assistant Naval Scientific Advisor.
    Dec 1978 - July 1981 - Weapons Electrical Officer, HMAS MELBOURNE.
    July 1981 - Dec 1981 - Staff College, Canberra.
    Dec 1981 - HMAS PENGUIN.
    March 1982 - Retired from RAN.

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