The best in the state

President of the Darling Downs Sub Section of the Naval Association of Australia Ian Appleby presented the Alex Nichols shield to Stanthorpe and District Sub Section president Norm Gale. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Jess Baker

The Stanthorpe and District Naval Sub Section has been awarded the prestigious Alex Nichols shield for its impressive membership growth and activity.

President for 14 years Norm Gale said it was the first time his sub section had won the award, and it came as quite a shock to both him and his 34 members.

“It means an awful lot,” Norm said.

“It means that we’re recognised for what we do.”

The sub section was announced the award recipient at the 2021 Queensland Naval Association Annual Conference Dinner Dance at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club on Saturday 15 May, and was presented with the shield last week.

The Stanthorpe and District Naval Sub Section is known by many for its military memorabilia sales at Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.

But until Norm moved to town 14 years ago, there was, according to him, no naval sub section in Stanthorpe whatsoever.

“We moved up here to be with family and I decided it would be good if we had a naval sub section in the district,” Norm said.

“So I decided to get out there and find out how many navy guys were in the district that covers Stanthorpe, Wallangarra, Warwick and Allora.”

Today, the Stanthorpe and District Naval Sub Section is a thriving group comprising of members from the local community and from across the country.

“We have members who live in Nowra, in Cairns, in Brisbane (and) we’ve got three in Darwin,” Norm said.

Before moving to Stanthorpe, Norm had been a member of the Pine Rivers Naval Sub Section in Brisbane. He has now been a member of the Naval Association for 35 years.

“My favourite thing is the camaraderie and (improving) the welfare of our members and their associates, their wives,” Norm said.

The Stanthorpe and District Naval Sub Section meets every two months, and hosts a dinner dance that recognises the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea every two years.

The next Coral Sea Battle Anniversary Dinner Dance is to be held at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre on Saturday 14 May 2022 and will recognise the 80th anniversary of the battle.

Those interested in becoming a member of the Stanthorpe and District Naval Sub Section can forward their enquiries to Norm at or phone 0435 619 626.