Captain Allison Norris, originally of Maitland, is now Captain of her own ship in the Royal Australian Navy. A supportive family and a Josephite education loom large in Allison’s success story, writes Tracey Edstein.
Considering that she applied to join the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) 'on the spur of the moment,' these days Captain Allison Norris (formerly Allison Horder) is anything but ‘all at sea’. In 2008, she became Commanding Officer (CO) of HMAS MELBOURNE, and in 2012, she took command of HMAS SUCCESS – literally and figuratively.
A supportive family and a Josephite education loom large in Allison’s success story. There was no family history of military service and Allison’s choice was influenced by a presentation by Recruiting Officers to Year 12 students at St Joseph’s College Lochinvar. 'I had always been attracted to the water and decided to apply. My family was very surprised by my chosen career path.'
However, Allison clearly has no regrets, 'Twenty-seven years later I would not change a thing.' A significant mentor in Allison’s high school years was (then) principal, Sr Lauretta Baker RSJ, whom Allison remembers as 'a very outspoken nun….She continually reinforced to me that there were no boundaries to what a woman could achieve in her chosen career.
'I was fortunate to grow up in a positive environment where I felt supported and mentored. I have always felt that my school years at Lochinvar, combined with my very positive family environment, provided the foundations for the confident, determined and successful woman I am today.'
Perhaps the strongest stereotypes of Navy life are uniformity – in dress and attitude, regimentation and clear expectations. All of these apply, but when Allison speaks warmly of her career, she conveys a world of opportunity and immense breadth of experience. To achieve the mission, Navy ships and personnel are constantly involved in domestic, regional and international exercises and operations.
FULL STORY This is your Captain speaking