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Scotch Stories: Bradley Dare


1 August 2018

Scotch Stories: Bradley Dare

Scotch Stories: Bradley Dare

It was hard to believe, when I stood on the bridge of the warship HMAS Parramatta while deployed in the South China Sea in October 2017, that I’d completed year 12 less than one year before.

In eleven short months I’d become a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Navy, navigated through contested territory in the South China Sea, and caught up with an old friend from Scotch when we came alongside in Japan. My first year after Scotch was a year of travel and personal discovery, as I encountered the reality of life out in the world after school in a challenging and dynamic environment.

Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that Scotch prepared me for what followed. My teachers and mentors supported my academic interests in enabling me to accelerate my studies and get the most out of my time at school.

Having the opportunity to serve in leadership roles was also instrumental in supporting my application to join the Australian Defence Force, become a leader and now study at ADFA. I will always be grateful to Scotch for providing me with the opportunity to mentor younger students as a SAT leader and Duke of Edinburgh Award Ambassador.

The opportunity to pursue my academic interests and participate in extension programs was also very valuable. In Year 12 I completed two university subjects – in history and politics – at Flinders University and it is only now that I am realising the full impact.

Not only did I have a huge head start when I arrived at ADFA to start my degree this year, but I’d also had the opportunity to identify my strengths and weaknesses, key areas of interest and develop my critical thinking ability. The Senior School went out of its way to support me (altering timetables, making phone calls to Flinders and so much more) and I now have more options as a result. During my posting in Parramatta, I developed an interest in military medicine and the two university subjects I completed at Scotch mean I can finish my first degree early, opening more opportunities for postgraduate study.     

Before going to sea, I completed my officer training at HMAS Creswell, graduating in June 2017. Two of my closest Scotch friends came to the ceremony and within weeks I found myself onboard Parramatta as part of Exercise Indo Pacific Endeavour ’17 – the largest combined exercise of its kind in the Asia Pacific Region. I travelled to Palau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

Still only 18, I had to grow up fast and, again, the years I spent at Scotch served me well. Although I had a lot to learn, my experiences as Fencing Captain gave me the self-confidence to step up and achieve my best.

At sea, my duties and responsibilities stacked up quickly. At the start of the trip, my main task ‘on watch’ was to plot our position. After four months, I had launched and recovered the ship’s helicopter, launched and recovered boats, assisted in planning our passage from the Philippines to Sydney, piloted the ship through a network of fishing nets and learnt to navigate by chart and compass. My success was largely due to resilience and self-confidence that I know Scotch helped foster.

At school, I also made friends for life. Nowhere else would I have met such a diverse group of friends who are still important to me today. I have Scotch friends from Meningie to Shanghai and countless cities and towns in between. They’ve given me a valuable perspective on different cultures and how people live – something I know will serve me well in the Australian Defence Force.

When our ship pulled into Yokosuka in Japan I was given 2 days’ leave. I called Leo Dai, a friend from Scotch who I knew was studying Japanese in Tokyo. After two hours on public transport we met up and it was great to see an old mate again. Leo took me on a cultural tour of Tokyo and gave me an amazing insight into how Japan’s social landscape is different from Australia. Scotch is a place where friendships like that are founded.

Scotch taught me the value of hard work, respect for diversity and personal resilience. Onboard Parramatta I needed all three. I’m proud of where I come from and where I’m headed. I’m standing on my own feet and now I’m part of something great. There is no doubt my time at Scotch has helped me to achieve what I have.

Bradley Dare (’16)